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Behind-the-Wheel

Should you be driving?

Do You Know Someone Who Should Not be Driving?

I often hear comments that a friend or family member should not be driving.

This person is usually either an older driver or a person suffering from health issues known to the person making the comment.

These people also express the wish that someone would do something about it.

According to RoadSafetyBC, the provincial agency responsible for driver fitness, we are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

That said, approximately 180,000 medical examinations were required in 2019. Of that number, only about 66,000 were seniors so safe driving ability can be affected at any age.

Difficult as it may be, close friends and family members are often the best ones to do something about an unsafe driver. RoadSafetyBC will take reports from anyone with direct knowledge of the problem and who is willing to identify themselves so that the report can be properly verified.

A letter or fax is the appropriate report and the address or fax number is available on RoadSafetyBC’s web site.

Without reports such as this, it can be difficult to identify drivers who for whatever reason are no longer capable.

Yes, the law does require that a doctor identify a patient that is no longer capable, but only if the doctor cautions the patient to stop driving and the patient does not do so.

Mandatory medical driver exams don’t occur until age 80, unless a problem has been identified. The criteria for these exams are set out in the CCMTA's Medical Standards with BC Specific Guidelines.

Worried about what will happen if you make a report? I’m sure that it would be a difficult decision for anyone to turn in a friend or family member.

I suppose it comes down to asking yourself if you can live with that, or can you live with knowing that the incapable driver has hurt themselves or others because you didn’t do something.

This decision may not be one that you can rely on “the system” to make for you.

On the other hand, one of my neighbours who was in her 80s met the situation head on. Her daughter had started to pressure her to stop driving, so she made an appointment with a driving school and had the instructor assess her skills.

The instructor was able to assure them both that it was safe for her to continue driving.

If you are on a budget, I see that the class 5 and 6 road tests are shown to be free to those aged 65 or older on ICBC's website.

You may be able to book a road test to assess your skills with them.

One day we may see a Graduated Delicensing Program for those drivers whose abilities are no longer up to standard. Currently, there are restrictions that may be placed on a driver's licence that limit privileges.

Examples of this may include speed limits, daylight hours only.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/driver-licencing/do-you-know-someone-who-should-not-be-driving





It's the highway's fault

I revisited this old article from 2009 today. It concerned a Facebook page dedicated to bringing improvements to an intersection on Vancouver Island that frequently sees major collisions.

Dividing the highway, adding concrete barriers, prohibiting turns, reducing the speed limit, installing traffic lights and other similar suggestions make up the majority of the solutions put forward by concerned people whenever events like these occur.

One component of Vision Zero (our current road safety strategy) is highway design.

The concept is that if road users fail to follow rules due to lack of knowledge, approval or ability, or if injuries do occur, then system designers are responsible for taking further action to prevent people from being killed or seriously injured.

Implementation of median barriers, modern roundabouts, speed humps, pedestrian islands, curb extensions along with enforcement methods such as the installation of speed and red light cameras that make car travel safer must be considered.

The Facebook group was on the right track.

In past, we considered that 90% of the problem involved people and driver error. Vision Zero says that we should consider that 90% of the solutions involve speeds, roads and vehicles.

Our vehicles continue to evolve and improve. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are becoming standard features on new vehicles and have been proven to reduce collisions.

We are also improving our roads. Thirty years and more than 7,500 projects later, ICBC's Road Improvement Program can claim a 24% reduction in serious injuries or fatalities an a 15% in claims costs where these changes were implemented.

Education and enforcement are still a part of Vision Zero, but might be the more difficult of the necessary changes.

I can relate speed and attitude in one encounter with a travelling salesperson who told me that a traffic ticket was just the cost of doing business.

If he had to drive at the speed limit, he wouldn't have time in his day to conduct that business. Clearly, the ticket that I was issuing to him at the time was no deterrent.

We seem to be reluctant to subjected to speed enforcement, whether it be automated or in person. Just look around you the next time you drive. How many of us follow the speed limits?

I've also wondered how difficult it would be to pass a current Class 5 road test. The driver examiner I asked about it told me that few adult drivers would pass easily if they were called back for a re-examination.

He also suggested that the exam was the minimum standard and that a current driver should be expected to perform at a higher level of skill than someone who was obtaining their first full privileged license.

After all, look at the practice and experience they should have gained over the years.

This does not speak highly for the skills of mature drivers and our government that does not test, promote or require improvement outside of our medical and enforcement systems.

For the most part, we are very fortunate to have the highways we do and the manner in which they are maintained.

Perhaps we should be calling for a little more enforcement and education to produce a significant reduction in B.C.'s crash statistics.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/viewpoint/its-highways-fault



Rules for parking lots

"Rules of the Road" for Parking Lots

"Are there specific rules of the road for parking lots?" asks a reader. "If so please clarify them."

Parking lots often seem to be a free for all to me. This observation might be confirmed by the fact that ICBC reports that in 2018 there were:

  • About 96,000 crashes in parking lots that resulted in a claim being filed
  • 4,300 of those claims included someone being injured
  • 480 of those people were pedestrians.

A parking lot is private property and you are using them as a guest of the property owner. They set rules for your presence and you agree to them by parking.

Common rules include who can use a parking space, how long you can park there and even when the lot is closed to the public entirely.

If you fail to follow the rules, you run the risk of being towed and being responsible to pay the towing and storage costs.

Our Motor Vehicle Act defines a highway as every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited. This means that the usual rules that you would obey when driving on public roads apply to you here as well.

If a municipality has enacted speed limits for lanes in their traffic bylaw, the maximum speed in a parking lot is 20 km/h. It is not necessary to post a sign to impose the limit.

Failure to obey speed limits or any of the other traffic rules could result in receiving a traffic ticket or being compelled to attend court for the violation.

It seems that the design of many parking lots has only one purpose in mind, to pack as many vehicles as possible into the space provided. This doesn't seem logical when you consider that each vehicle using the lot results in the presence of at least one pedestrian.

Where do you find a safe place to walk?

The rules put the onus on drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on the highway which of course also includes the parking lot.

The MVA also says that pedestrians crossing a highway not in a crosswalk must yield to vehicles. Clearly the smart thing to do is to watch out for each other and not meet in the middle!

ICBC has a number of examples of how fault is determined in parking lot collisions on their web site:

  • Crash while exiting a parking lot, driveway or alley
  • Parking lot main lane and feeder lane crash
  • Crash while reversing from a parking spot
  • Reversing from a parking spot and reversing in lane
  • Reversing from parking spots at the same time

(The list of ICBC liability topics are linked in the story on my web site.)

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/parking/rules-road-parking-lots





Passing on the right

Question:

“Can you do an article on cars passing on the right? Especially when you are at an intersection on a two-lane road and making a left turn.
"I have had cars whiz by me on the right because they were too impatient to wait.
"Also I have been making a left turn before a cross walk and people have been crossing and cars go by on the right almost hitting the person in the cross walk.”


My traffic policing experience has shown me that if there is room for a driver or cyclist to squeeze through, they will do it.

The urge to continue seems to outweigh any legal requirement to wait. As you explain in your crosswalk example, there is sometimes little thought given to why the vehicle ahead of them is stopped.

I also suspect that some drivers and riders don't know what the rules for passing on the right are. They are found in section 158 of the Motor Vehicle Act with advice on page 54 of Learn to Drive Smart and page 102 of Tuning Up for Drivers.

In general, passing on the right is forbidden in British Columbia. There are only three situations where this may be done legally and they are subject to restrictions as well:

  • You may pass an overtaken vehicle on the right if there is an unobstructed lane that permit motor vehicle travel there to do it in.
  • You may pass an overtaken vehicle on the right if you are driving on a one way street, there is an unobstructed lane and the street is at least two lanes wide.
  • You may pass an overtaken vehicle on the right if it is turning left, or the driver is signalling the intention to turn left. If a vehicle not turning has stopped between you and the vehicle turning left you must wait. Lack of a signal might be a clue in this instance.

I did mention restrictions:

  • You must not pass on the right if it is unsafe to do so.
  • You must not pass on the right if doing so means driving off of the roadway.

You may recall from past columns that the roadway is the part of the highway between the centre line and the solid white line at the right edge, or if no solid line is marked, then the edge of the pavement.

One complication that drivers have to be aware of more often these days are bicycle lanes. Like driving on the shoulder, cycling lanes that are marked with a solid white line mean that you must not drive along them.

If you are interested in what our provincial courts have to say about passing on the right, there are five case law articles reported on the Drive Smart site as well as an analysis by Paul Hergott of Hergott Law

Story URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/passing/passing-right



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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