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DriveSmart BC – The Enhanced Road Assessment

The new year will bring changes to how drivers are re-examined to insure that they are safe to continue to drive. Current DriveABLE testing will be replaced by an Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) that will be administered by ICBC at no cost. The ERA has been developed by RoadSafetyBC after surveying driver re-testing in other jurisdictions and is aimed at providing greater transparency for participants.

DriveABLE has been providing both computer based and in car testing under contract with the province to identify cognitively impaired drivers. That contract expires at the end of February 2018 and will not be renewed. Effective at the beginning of January 2018, referrals for re-examination will be made for the ERA rather than DriveABLE.

The ERA is designed as an assessment which provides RoadSafetyBC with comprehensive information, rather than a road test that is either passed or failed. It will be conducted by ICBC Driver Examiners in the participant’s own vehicle at the ICBC location nearest to their home. There will be no computer based testing.

Some of the most common reasons for an ERA are:

  •     A doctor reports a medical condition that may affect a person’s fitness or ability to drive safely
  •     Results of a previous on-road assessment suggest a follow-up is necessary
  •     A collision report, police report or other report indicates a driver may be unable or unsure how to handle a common driving situation

The duration of the ERA will be approximately 90 minutes in total. It will consist of a pre-test check of the participant and their vehicle, two periods of driving totaling 45 minutes, a five minute break for feedback between driving sessions and a post-trip review.

Drivers will be asked to complete basic driving maneuvers, show that they can properly adjust and use vehicle controls, follow multi-step directions and reverse a driving route. To reverse a route, drivers will be asked to drive a few blocks from a location and then return to the starting point following that same route in reverse.

Depending on the outcome of the ERA, the driver will either return their driver’s license or retain it and issue a learner’s drivers’s licence (LDL).

The issue of an LDL will result when a driver commits a traffic violation or takes a dangerous action during the ERA. Having an LDL now means that the driver will need a supervisor in order to drive. That supervisor must be age 25 or older and hold a valid driver’s licence.

Only in rare cases will the driver’s licence be cancelled at the end of an ERA.

The results of the ERA will be forwarded to RoadSafetyBC by ICBC where it will be considered along with all the other information in the driver’s file. The result will be a final decision on whether to maintain, re-issue or cancel the driver’s licence. That decision will be explained to the driver, in writing, by RoadSafetyBC.

RoadSafetyBC may consider imposing restrictions on a driver’s licence. The restrictions are to insure that the driver can safely operate their vehicle within their ability.

Suggestions in preparation for an ERA include honest self assessment, constructive criticism from family or a friend, reading both Learn to Drive Smart and Tuning Up for Drivers, as well as taking a refesher with a driving school.

If a driver decides not to take the ERA, they may retire from driving by exchanging their driver’s licence for a British Columbia Identification Card (BCID).

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Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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