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Cognitive Testing For Senior Drivers in Ontario

As of April 21, 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has changed the license renewal program for seniors. The process has been reduced from 3 hours to 90 minutes, but more importantly, has significantly improved its ability to accurately identify seniors still fit for driving.

A senior woman at the wheel of her car

Drivers aged 80 and over will no longer have to complete a written knowledge test as part of the process. It has been replaced with two simple, non-computerized screening exercises that test for cognitive impairment among seniors.

Below are sample exercises provided by the MTO for the two new screening components:
Part A
Instructions:

1. On a separate sheet of paper, draw a large circle.
2. Put all the numbers in to make it look like the face of a clock.
3. Draw the hands of the clock to show ten minutes after eleven.
4. Stop when completed.

Part B
Instructions:

1. Look at the letters below.
2. Whenever you see an “H”, cross it out.
3. Stop when completed.

B D A H C F B H D E H D A F H I C H F H
D H C E H I H G D H G E B H E G H I H C
C G D H C B A H G D E H C H B E H D G H

Dr. Louisa Gembora is an independent clinical psychologist that specializes in rehabilitation, and as a driving instructor says: “The clock drawing exercise seems simplistic, but it’s reliable and viable – we’ve used it for many years, providing the evidence to implement it”1. The tests, developed by CANDRIVE, quickly and fairly evaluate basic auditory language skills, memory, motor functioning, and ability to plan and organize.

Along with the new exercises, seniors will still complete a vision test, driver record review, and an improved in-class group education session as part of the license renewal program. After seniors complete the process, they may be asked to complete a road test or submit medical information from their doctor.

1 Sommerfeld, Lorraine. “New test coming soon for elderly Ontario drivers”. The Globe and Mail. January 31, 2014. Online.

Written by Justin Szostak, Our Kids Media





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