EDITORIAL — Nobody should lose their driver’s licence because of age

(ArmchairMayor photo)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT the Queen and Prince Philip would get in hot water for bad driving habits?

Philip had a nasty crash last week. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured but questions were immediately raised about whether a 97-year-old should be driving.

And within a day or two he was spotted driving without a seatbelt. So was the Queen, who’s 92.

So, should the right to drive be taken away based on age?

I know what you’re thinking — why is someone as youthful as the Armchair Mayor even talking about this? Well, in B.C. once you hit 80 years of age, you have to be assessed by a doctor and submit a medical report to RoadSafetyBC, and do it every two years after that.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to do it, and so will you.

There’s evidence that cognitive impairment increases with age, and testing it out with older drivers isn’t such a bad thing, though many will argue that every individual is different and compulsory testing is unwarranted.

The idea that driver’s licences should automatically be taken away at a certain age is especially offensive.

There’s plenty of statistical evidence that older drivers are safer on the roads than younger drivers. My father-in-law drove himself to the gym for his workout every morning until he was 96.

Nobody talks about the cognitive impairment of young drivers and the need to test them every two years.

The answer to poor driving is in the quality of driver training and individual ability. There should be regular mandatory re-testing throughout life; no picking on seniors.

And, by the way, Philip is pondering “words of advice” about whether he should give up his licence.

Buckle up. I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7627 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL — Nobody should lose their driver’s licence because of age

  1. There’s doctors and then there’s doctors.They all have different reasons for doing things,Some older drivers have fought a doctors decision and won.There are of course many who should not be driving,many of them young and many with a large green N on the back of their vehicle.Consideration of others is not on their priority list.I agree completely with your prognosis Mel. I hope somebody in the moter vehicle dept reads all this stuff.

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