News Release Archive

The Seniors' Safe Driving Committee today presented its report to 
Business and Consumer Services Minister Don Downe and other
members of the Provincial Cabinet.

The report, containing seven recommendations, stresses that
seniors, as a group, should not be singled out for special and
unusual consideration. The report says that, with few exceptions,
no condition or restriction must be imposed upon the elderly
which is not equally applicable to all other driving licence

In its recommendations the report calls for strict application of
highway discipline, periodic skill upgrading for all drivers as a
condition of licence renewal and annual retesting of a percentage
of all licence holders.

"I wish to thank the committee for its report," said Mr. Downe,
"and I will be forwarding it to staff for their assessment and

Rex Guy, committee spokesman, said: "It is our hope that the
report will contribute to making driving safer in Nova Scotia."

The Seniors' Safe Driving Committee was established through the
Senior Citizens' Secretariat, in May 1995, as a result of
consultation with Transportation and Public Works Minister Richie
Mann. The committee began its work following several high profile
motor vehicle accidents which involved seniors, resulting in
increased scrutiny and public debate of seniors' driving

Dr. MacKinnon said that more than a year ago it became obvious to
the secretariat that "there was a widely held notion that seniors
were responsible for a disproportionate number of highway
accidents..however, research, analysis and consultation within
Nova Scotia, as well as other parts of Canada and the United
States have revealed that notion to be incorrect."

Tasked with concerns surrounding the issuance of driving licences
to the elderly, the committee comprises 12 representatives of the
senior population, seniors' associations and councils.

Extensive consultation took place with numerous authorities
including the province's director of highway safety, the Nova
Scotia Safety Council, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the
medical profession.

Through the Seniors' Secretariat and seniors' organizations the
committee consulted with seniors throughout the province.
Opportunities for direct input and public representation were
made available during Seniors' Expo in Halifax and at hearings at
Province House.

Additionally, questionnaires were widely distributed through
seniors' organizations, associations and clubs throughout the
province. More than 300 completed questionnaires were returned
and results were incorporated by the committee.
Statistical information was obtained from the provincial
government, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
Arlington, Va.; the Accident Reconstruction Journal and
Saskatchewan Government Insurance reports.

The committee's report says it was found that elderly drivers
are, in the main, self policing and modify driving habits
according to capability. Avoiding night and bad weather driving,
the report states, "they are not inclined to break the speed
limit and do not have an overwhelming urge to overtake everything
on the highway."

Community Services Minister Jim Smith, minister responsible for
the Seniors' Secretariat, said he is pleased with the efforts of
the committee, "the extensiveness of their research and strength
of their recommendations."


NOTE TO EDITORS: A summary of the recommendations can be obtained
by calling 902-424-4492 or 1-800-670-4357.

Contact: Brian Vandervaart  902-424-6322 or 1-800-670-0065

         Rex Guy            902-538-9523

trp                    Apr. 18, 1996 - 9:25 a.m.