Research Papers

Fitness to Drive: Strengthening Road Safety through Enhanced Road Assessments

Version 1
Date added June 18, 2019
Downloaded 0 times/fois
Category 2019 CARSP XXIX Calgary
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 4B
Author/Auteur Campbell
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice
Slidedeck Presentation Only:



Background/Context: In 2018, British Columbia made changes to the road assessment that helps determine whether drivers can safety remain at the wheel. The new Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) is delivered by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to drivers whom RoadSafetyBC determines need a functional road assessment regarding their medical fitness to drive safely. The ERA is designed as an assessment which provides RoadSafetyBC with comprehensive information, rather than a road test that is either passed or failed. The new ERA process is the result of extensive consultation with experts and comprehensive cross-jurisdictional review and addresses issues with previous testing such as: accurately reflect real-world driving conditions, allowing drivers to use their own vehicles, eliminating the computer-based screening component.

Aims/Objectives: In alignment with Vision Zero- the ultimate goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads, RoadSafetyBC set out to design a way for an on road assessment that's more accessible and will improve safety for all road users.
The new approach aimed to:
* Extend the current ICBC re-examination to 90 minutes from 75 minutes, incorporating new components to assess driving errors that may result from cognitive impairment and other areas of medical concern.
* Eliminate the in-office, computer-based screening part of the DriveABLE assessment, which many drivers have said adds unnecessary complexity and stress.
* Instead, ICBC driver examiners will gradually increase the complexity of driving tasks, provide a break and feedback midway through, and have clear parameters for ending an assessment early if necessary, all to help maximize safety in real-world driving conditions.
* Let drivers use their own vehicles, as many drivers have said that having to operate an unfamiliar vehicle affects their on-road assessment results.
* Improve access and convenience, with approximately 70 ICBC locations delivering the ERA province wide.
* Drivers required to take an ERA will receive it at no cost.

Methods/Targets: Drivers with a medical condition that may affect the functions required for driving safely on BC's roads.

Results/Activities: The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is responsible for assessing drivers in order to determine driver medical fitness and keep our roads safe for all users. RoadSafetyBC uses a number of functional assessments to assess a driver's ability to safely drive. As the contract to provide DriveABLE assessments expired at the end of February 2018, RoadSafetyBC took the opportunity to review the approach in in other jurisdictions, Functional Driving Evaluations provided by Occupational Therapists, as well as relevant research and considered options for how we can keep improving Vision Zero initiatives in BC. We committed to providing an option that improves public safety while balancing the concerns of British Columbians. This has resulted in the creation of the Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA), which is designed to assess drivers with cognitive, motor and sensory impairments that may adversely affect their ability to drive.

As part of the development process, RoadSafetyBC consulted with other jurisdictions across Canada to determine models in use outside of B.C. and to establish best practices, engaged subject matter experts at ICBC, and seconded an Masters prepared Occupational Therapist with a Graduate Certificate in assessing Driver Capability to focus the development of the ERA, including literature reviews and examination of best practices in other jurisdictions.

RoadSafetyBC conducted extensive consultations with the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate, Counsel of Senior Citizens Organizations, and UVic Institute on Aging; Lifelong Health, as well as the program advisory group made up of representatives from Doctors of B.C., the B.C. Doctors of Optometry, the College of Occupational Therapists of B.C., the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, the B.C. Psychological Association, and the B.C. Nurse Practitioner Association.

In November of 2017, RoadSafetyBC announced that the ERA would be available on March 05, 2018. This received significant media attention and overall was well received. Prior to implementation, RoadSafetyBC developed information packages (including Q&A's) for medical practitioners, drivers, and ICBC.

Discussion/Deliverables: RoadSafetyBC is pleased with the results from the ERA program to date. The ERA reports provide the program adjudicators with specific and highly detailed information upon which to base a licencing decision and as a result the program is referring far fewer drivers to a second or third assessment. The ERA program is forecasting to be under budget for 2018/19.
Operational statistics: As of October 31, 2018, 3,159 ERAs have been conducted (approximately 400/month). See below:
* 55% resulted in the driver maintaining their licence
* 24% resulted in the driver's licence being cancelled
* 18% resulted in a request for a further ERA or further medical information
* On average, drivers take the ERA 60 days after being referred by RoadSafetyBC
* On average, RoadSafetyBC makes a decision to maintain or cancel the driver's licence 7 days after an ERA is taken
* Since implementation, the program has received less than 20 requests for reconsideration of licencing decisions from drivers.

Feedback: RoadSafetyBC has received very positive feedback regarding the fairness of the assessment and ease of process. Responses to an anonymous driver survey have returned an average satisfaction score of 4.3/5, and have included many favourable comments on ICBC driver examiner conduct and the need for periodic driver assessments. See below:
"I had an excellent examiner and he made my ERA a joy to take."

"Although I didn't want to do it - I had to and I'm a better driver for the ERA process."

"At my age (76), should be driver test every year instead of 5 years."

"I am very pleased with the plan for us seniors. It's a must for us all. After 80 we need to be checked. This has helped. I did not like my driving…Thank you all for the care of our BC roads."