Instructor urges older drivers in Sask. to take responsibility if they are unsafe on the roads

A former instructor with the Saskatoon and District Safety Council thinks mature drivers need to take responsibility for their skills and hand over the keys if they are unsafe on the roads.

Alan Reichart says refresher course just one check on safety

Alan Reichart says driving refresher courses can keep older drivers on the road longer, but adds that drivers themselves must take responsibility for their diminishing skills and hand over their keys if they are no longer safe on the roads. (Associated Press)

A former instructor with the Saskatoon and District Safety Council thinks mature drivers need to take responsibility for their skills and hand over the keys if they are unsafe on the roads.

"Nobody has the right to drive. Therefore, it is a privilege," said Alan Reichart in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.    

Reichart has experience teaching the 55Alive Driving Refresher, a course for drivers 50 and over who want to sharpen their skills on the road.

Refresher course helps 

Reichert said it is a chance for older drivers to become more aware.

"It is very important we understand what is happening to our bodies as we mature," he said.

"Sixty per cent of all violations, in other words tickets handed out to drivers 50 and over, are directly related to vision."

The course has now been offered for years with the help of funding from SGI, and there are questions about whether it should be mandatory for all aging drivers.

Know when you are not safe on the road

Reichart isn't sure the province would be able to fund a mandatory course. But he is calling on aging drivers to take responsibility for their own skills. Reichart says he's seen it happen with some participants in the driving refresher.

"Some of them said, 'I'm turning in my keys because I know I shouldn't be driving, I've been thinking about this for a while and now I know I shouldn't be doing this.'"

It's a situation he would like to see more often. Reichart says drivers themselves should make the call, and not have to be forced into having their license taken away.