Dementia & Driving
Driving is the primary mode of transportation for a large majority of Canadian adults, including seniors. 68% of older adults 65 to 74 years old and 31% of those over the age of 85 reported driving their own vehicle as their primary mode of transportation. Driving a motor vehicle (such as a car or a bus) is a complex and potentially risky activity. Although driving is a privilege, some people incorrectly view it as a right.
In most provinces in Canada, older adults must have a periodic evaluation of their driving abilities in order to maintain their driving privilege. For example, in Ontario older adults are asked to take a three-part test every two years starting at age 80. This consists of a vision test, a multiple-choice written test about the rules of the road, and a group session. Unfortunately, this test does not properly assess driving skills typically affected by dementia. As a result, a person living with dementia may pass this three-part test even if he or she is at high risk of accidents and is unsafe to drive.