30 Apr 2024

Cognitive tests to assess driver impairment called into question

From Nine To Noon, 9:32 am on 30 April 2024

Grey Power is calling for a change to elderly driver assessments, claiming the process for assessing driver capability is penalising some of the very people who need their licences the most.

Grey Power acting vice president David Marshall says a nationwide survey of members has revealed a lack of practical driving assessors in the regions and also widespread use of cognitive tests - SIMARD-MD and Mini-ACE - to assess driver impairment. 

Canadian driving researcher Dr Alexander Crizzle, says there is no evidence to support the continued use of cognitive dementia tests to assess driver capability. In New Zealand, the driver licence renewal criteria require all licence holders to present a medical certificate confirming fitness to drive at age 75, then 80, and then every two years following.

Waka Kotahi NZTA says it does not mandate cognitive tests for elderly drivers and maintains the use of such tools is left to the discretion of health practitioners. Draft guidelines on how to assess medical fitness to drive are currently under review and are expected to be released in June. 

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Photo: 123rf