Published on June 24th, 2014 | by Jordan

Are You Ever “Too Old” to Keep Driving?

Today’s post comes to us from Bobbie Turcotte, Manager of Driver Training here at CAA South Central Ontario. Thanks Bobbie!


What is the appropriate age to give up the keys and stop driving? And, does it really have to do with how old we are? If a driver has the skills necessary to drive safely then isn’t that all that really matters?

The effects of aging can start as early as our 50s, so it is important that drivers are honest with themselves, recognize their limitations and are aware of what is necessary to keep themselves and others safe on the road.

Just like any other check-up, drivers should take a refresher course or at least an in-vehicle evaluation at the first sign of any age-related concerns.  Sometimes, the changes that we experience are so gradual that we may not fully realize the affects  it has on our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

All the more reason to have your driving skills assessed by a professional.

CAA Driver Training has a Mature Drivers Workshop which offers 3 hours of theory and a one hour in-vehicle assessment.  The objective of the course is to keep you safe, aware and mobile.  The workshop covers the latest rules of the road, how to reduce high-risk situations and how to compensate for changing physical conditions. Don’t live in the Greater Toronto area? Our Approved Driving School Network, made up of driving schools across Ontario may also offer in-vehicle assessments.

CAA supports strategies that take into account our aging population, including ability-based licensing programs, rather than ones based solely on age. No one wants to give up their licence, so CAA is here to help you keep driving as long as it is safe to do so.

I am sure that the Ministry of Transportation, as a result of their research, had very good reason for choosing 80 years of age to offer a licence renewal program for seniors. I have several aunts and uncles that are in their 80’s and still drive safely to the grocery store, hair dresser and to visit friends and relatives close by.  Driving plays an important role in their lives and helping to maintain their independence.

Most senior drivers are very disciplined and regulate their own driving habits. They understand their limitations and avoid driving in high risk situations such as adverse weather conditions, nighttime driving, heavy traffic and high speed freeways.

Effective April 21, 2014, drivers aged 80 and no longer have to complete a written knowledge test.  Instead, they participate in a shorter, simpler and less stressful renewal program that includes:

  1. Taking a vision test
  2. Undergoing a driver record review
  3. Attending a shorter group education session
  4. Completing two, brief, non-computerized in-class screening assignments
  5. If necessary, taking a road test

This process will take about 90 minutes and all requirements must be met before your licence is renewed.

Last year we had a gentleman come into the CAA Driver Training office who had to be retested.  Mr. T – who happened to be 99 years young – took a couple of hours of in-vehicle instruction and passed his test!  Mr. T was certainly more the exception than the rule, however, it just enforces our point that no one should lose their driving privileges based solely on their age.

Call us, we’re here to help! You can learn more about CAA Driver Training online or by phone at (416) 223-8870.

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