Seniors show know driving a privilege, not a right

Dear editor,
I just finished reading the letter from Mary Gellatly (Record, Dec. 9) with regards to ICBC Waging War on Seniors.

Dear editor,I just finished reading the letter from Mary Gellatly (Record, Dec. 9) with regards to ICBC Waging War on Seniors, and I must say I wasn’t completely shocked with what she had to say, as most seniors think that they are capable drivers.She starts by saying that ICBC is bullying senior drivers who’ve paid for their insurance for 60 years or more. The fact that you have paid your insurance for 60 years or more does not make you a good or capable driver.  It just means you have paid your insurance bill.  She goes on to say that 80-year-old drivers have to have a medical exam every two years and, failing this, they need to take a driving exam.I see no problem with this. We all know that as we age factors such as decreased vision, impaired hearing, or slowed motor reflexes may become a problem. Hearing loss becomes increasingly common with one in three over 60 years and one in two people over 85.Our retinas become thinner than normal, the sharpness that needs to be achieved in viewing objects well away is impaired, and objects placed well away appear blurred.As well, there are more people driving on the roads today and with newer traffic signs than when the elderly first started driving. Also, within the next 20 years the number of drivers 70 and older is predicted to triple.As age increases, older drivers generally become more conservative on the road. Many mature drivers modify their driving habits (for instance to avoid busy highways or night-time driving) to match their declining capabilities.However, statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections. Fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70.As you can see, Mary, ICBC is not out to get seniors — they are out to protect the general public.I am in my 50s now, and I know that there will come a day when I also will have to give up my independence. It is just a fact of growing older.Sharon Lacey,Comox Valley