Hanging Up the Car Keys
It’s not easy to hang up the car keys. Yet everyone at some point faces this decision. Should I stay behind the wheel? Or should I return to life in the passenger’s seat?
We live in communities built around cars. So planning for driving retirement is vital to maintaining a healthy, independent life, just as one plans for workplace retirement. Did you know? Research shows that the average male will outlive his driver licence by 7 years, and the average female by 10 years. The transition from driving is one of the toughest that drivers and their families have to face.
As part of the Seniors on the Move project, transportation stakeholders in Metro Vancouver collaboratively produced a print brochure to help guide the conversation around when is the right time to stop driving, or drive less, along with transportation options. Click here to download the brochure.
We’ve also included some resources below to help you make this transition easier. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions you may also be asking…
Q: My driver’s license is up for renewal, how does the Driver Medical Fitness Program affect me?
A: Beginning at the age of 80, you will be required to take a medical exam every two years (as medical conditions affecting driving are more common as people reach this age). An exam could be required sooner based on a reliable report from a medical professional, police officer or concerned family member.
If an exam is required, ICBC will mail you a report (with detailed instructions on the back) to take to your physician or nurse practitioner who must must complete the form and send it for review by RoadSafetyBC within 45 days of it being issued.
RoadSafetyBC will notify you in writing if more information or testing is needed to determine your fitness to drive, or if there is a change to your driver’s licence status based on the information on the report.
Additional testing could include an Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA). The ERA is an on-road driving assessment that evaluates a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The assessment is conducted by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) on behalf of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
For more information or general inquiries about driver fitness and medical requirements,
Or contact RoadSafetyBC Toll Free: 1.855.387.7747 or 1.250.387.7747
For more information on driver licensing and driver testing through ICBC CLICK HERE
Or Phone: 1.800.950.1498;
Q: Does the medical exam from my doctor cost money?
A: The Road Safety BC Driver’s Medical Examination Report (DMER) “for any driver with a known or possible medical condition” is billable to MSP. $75 fee. Billing number 96220.
NOTE TO DRIVER AND PHYSICIAN OR NURSE PRACTITIONER (NP): The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (RoadSafetyBC) has arranged that physicians may bill the Ministry of Health, through the Teleplan billing system, $75 to complete this form. RoadSafetyBC will reimburse Teleplan for such charges. RoadSafetyBC has no authority to set the fee physicians or nurse practitioners charge. Physicians are entitled to set their own fee and to bill patients directly for either their full fee or any portion of the fee that exceeds the $75 the physician may bill through Teleplan. RoadSafetyBC will accept a DME completed by any qualified medical practitioner in British Columbia.
For Sample of Driver Medical Examination Form (pdf) CLICK HERE
Q: What are the benefits to retiring my driver’s licence?
A: You no longer have the responsibility of driving. You can sit back and relax as a passenger. You will also save money! The Canadian Automobile Association estimates the cost of driving a new compact car to be over $8,000 a year (based on driving 16,000 km per year).
Q: What other valid/legal Identification can I use?
A: You can exchange your licence for a free BCID B.C. Identification card (BCID) at any driver licensing office. That way you'll still have a piece of secure, legal ID.
The BC Services card is also a free, acceptable piece of government photo identification. You can use it in situations where you would have used your licence.
Please note: bring a secondary piece of ID (e.g., a credit card) with you when retiring your license and getting your BCID and BC Services cards.
Q: How do I retire my licence?
A: To retire your driver's licence:
visit any ICBC driver licensing office - To find in map CLICK HERE, or
send ICBC your driver's licence by mail:
ICBC Licensing Unit
PO Box 3750
Victoria, BC V8W 3Y5
Q: Can I still use my parking placards for people with disabilities?
A: If you have a disabled parking placard, you can use it in any vehicle. The same privileges will continue to apply, so long as you're with the driver. Note: Even if individuals don’t own a vehicle, they might be eligible for a permit. As long as they are in a vehicle (as passengers), they can use the placard and park in a designated parking spot. For more information and card application CLICK HERE or to contact SPARC BC Click here or call: 604.718.7744.
Q: Once I stop driving, what are my options?
A: There are many options possible including Concession Compass Cards for use on TransLink, HandyDART, TaxiSavers, and the BC bus pass as well as other private means of transportation. In some communities, there are also shuttles and volunteer ride programs provided by local nonprofit agencies.
For Government of B.C. information outlining the process of when you turn 80
CLICK HERE or see some excerpts below.
Below is a sample copy of the Driver Medical Examination Report:
Driver's Medical Examination Note: SAMPLE COPY ONLY
Important: DMERs must be completed and returned to RoadSafetyBC within 45 days of the date that the DMER was issued or the driver’s licence may be cancelled. Information and instructions are provided on the back of the DMER form. There may be situations where it is not possible for the driver to meet the timelines indicated on the form. If the timelines cannot be met, the driver must contact RoadSafetyBC as soon as possible to seek an extension of the time limit. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of the driver’s licence.
Resources for Senior Drivers and Their Families
Everyone’s driving skills change over time, but it can be difficult to recognize when adjustments are needed, or when it is time to retire from driving. Similarly, initiating a conversation about driving may be difficult for families or those that support senior drivers.
A number of organizations, including SeniorsBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), and the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence (the Hartford) provide information and resources for seniors and their families about:
Staying safe on the road;
How to self-assess driving skills;
The impact that medical conditions may have on safe driving ability;
Having conversations with a senior about their driving;
Dementia and driving; and
Planning for driving retirement.
SeniorsBC - B.C. Senior Guide
ICBC – Tips for Senior Drivers
CAA – CAA Senior Driving Site
Autoinsurance.com- how to drive safely
Also, please access our brochure “When is it Time to Hang Up the Keys?” produced by partners with Seniors on the Move.
Did you know? If you decide to retire your driver’s license, you can obtain a free BC ID card at any ICBC Driver Licensing centre? Click here to learn more.
The Cost of Driving
MediciNet describes some of the signs that may mean it is time to stop driving. This resource also explains what to do once you’ve made that decision. To learn more click here.
ICBC has some tips for older drivers, information on the Enhanced Road Assessment and more. Click here to access these resources.
CAA has toolkits on driving assessments, information on how aging can affect driving, and tips on talking about driving and aging. Their site can be accessed by clicking here.
The Alzheimer’s society has a good resource on driving and dementia and Alzheimer’s which can be accessed by clicking here.
HealthLink BC provides information about driving and aging in BC.
What are some other ways you can get around? Check them out!