Research Papers

Evaluation of Ontario's Enhanced Senior Driver Renewal Program: 2 Years Post-Implementation

Version 1
Date added June 26, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 2B
Author/Auteur Tracey Ma
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



"Ontarians in their 80s are a rapidly growing segment of the licensed driver population. The effect of aging on driving is a complex process, and therefore maintaining the appropriate balance between senior mobility and road safety requires an objective and effective assessment of driving ability.
To evaluate the historical effectiveness of Ontario's Senior Driver Licence Renewal and propose enhancements to the existing program, the Ministry of Transportation and its consultants reviewed jurisdictional best practices and the latest academic research to develop an evidenced-based approach to senior re-licensing in the province. Data obtained during this review indicated that the previous knowledge test was generally not an effective indicator of a senior's actual ability to drive. In contrast, this research found that the replacement of the knowledge test with certain cognitive screening tools held far more promise in improving road safety.

In the spring of 2014, evidenced-based research paved the way for Ontario to become the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce an in-class cognitive screening component as part of a Senior Driver Licence Renewal Program. The in-class cognitive screening component consists of two brief pencil-and-paper assessments of a person's cognitive capabilities relevant to driving, specifically the Clock Drawing Test, and the Letter Cancellation Test. These tests are brief, easy to administer and score in a group setting, with proven predictive ability and zero cost impact. The inclusion of these screening tools in place of the former knowledge test has been well received by renewal participants, with feedback suggesting that the new program has reduced both undue stress, as well as time in studying and completing the in-class component of the renewal process. The primary aim of the evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of Ontario's new in-class screening component in identifying potentially unfit drivers and improving road safety. A two-year collection of the following multifaceted data sources will be utilized to conduct comprehensive statistical analyses:

1. The individual results of the senior renewal participant's two cognitive screening tests, and their driving record review
2. The individual results of driving performance for those that were referred to a road test
3. The results of medical assessment(s) and licensing decisions for those that were referred to Medical Review Department Preliminary road test outcomes demonstrate that about 43% of all seniors fail their road test attempt under the enhanced program, compared to a failure rate of only 18% under the previous program, suggesting that Ontario's enhanced program is almost 2.5 times more effective in identifying unfit drivers. Preliminary results suggest that the in-class screening exercises are more objectively and effectively identifying unfit drivers as demonstrated by higher road test fail rates since April 21, 2014. Further evidence for the effectiveness of the in-class screening component, as well as indications of remaining gaps in our identification of potentially unfit drivers are being assessed now that a full 2 years of data is available for analysis. To be determined and presented "

Tracey Ma