With the tourist season in full swing the traffic flow in our patrol area has increased noticeably. The incidence of really interesting driving behaviours has climbed along with it. Of course, we sit down at coffee and swap stories about what we have seen and shake our heads in amazement. I think I might have heard the best one yet this past weekend.
The constable I was speaking to told me about an investigation that he had conducted with regard to an older male and his driving ability. This gentleman had problems with falling asleep while driving. Knowing this, he always took his wife along so that when he fell asleep, she could wake him up again. What is really interesting is that this lady is blind. The first notice that she had of her husband falling asleep was the change in vibration as the tires left the pavement.
Imagine the pitfalls in this system! This driver is trapped in our driving oriented society. His wife can't drive, and if he were to lose his licence, they are both left living in a rural area with no easy access to transportation to fill their daily needs. In a way, he is forced to struggle to maintain a normal lifestyle.
His choice to continue to drive rather than giving up his licence on his own has placed everyone on the road at significant risk. His family knew about the situation, but was caught in the same difficulty that many face when their parents are no longer able to drive safely. Do they do something, does the family doctor take responsibility, or do we wait for the police to find out and take action?
There is another way. RoadSafetyBC (formerly the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) in Victoria is responsible for taking action when a case like this is brought to attention. One can telephone, fax, write or e-mail to RoadSafetyBC and report a driver who is no longer capable.
The response can consist of a medical examination directive, a road test, or licence cancellation depending on what the problem is.