Staysafe stays ignorant on older drivers

The NSW Parliament's Staysafe committee conducted an inquiry into Driver Education, Training and Road Safety. But evidence fell on deaf ears as Committee members toed the party line. 

The inquiry looked at the training and testing of drivers throughout their driving lives.

CPSA gave evidence before the Committee, which consisted of Coalition and Labor MPs and one Greens member, who was absent on the day. The current Coalition Government and the Labor Government preceding it are committed to the road testing of older drivers. In other words, the Committee was never going to find against the road testing of older drivers, but what was unexpected was the aggression with which CPSA was questioned. The Committee's Chair even criticised CPSA for confining itself to its area of expertise and not addressing road safety and licensing in general.

CPSA pointed out that older drivers, like everybody else, can be disqualified from driving (1) following a doctor's report and (2) after notching up twelve demerit points.

In response, one Committee member (Coalition) made the bizarre suggestion the demerit points system was inadequate.

CPSA also made the point that the road test is really a proxy dementia test carried out by a driving instructor and therefore wholly inappropriate.

It all fell on deaf ears, with Committee members toeing the respective parties' lines.

Here is what the Committee found.

We find that the mandatory periodic retesting and retraining of all licensed drivers between the age of first achieving a licence [sic] and the age of older driver assessment would be expensive, disruptive and administratively complex, and unlikely to improve road safety outcomes.

The Committee provided no evidence that the retesting of older drivers improved "road safety outcomes".

This isn't surprising, because that evidence does not exist.

The Committee's finding quoted above spells it out. If retesting and retraining everybody does not improve road safety, how is retesting the very small group of people over 85 who still drive going to improve road safety?

That is the conclusion the rest of Australia, and indeed the rest of the world has come to, but Staysafe has decided to stay ignorant:

We find that the current aged driver assessment regime in New South Wales is a reasonable balance between the rights of individual drivers and the community ..

If you are approaching 85, contact CPSA Head Office on 1800 451 488 to discuss the older driver licensing system. We can talk you through your options and provide contact information for the Older Driver Assessors in your area.