Driver discrimination

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and COTA Vic are set to investigate the causes of age discrimination against older drivers and pinpoint feasible solutions.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has launched a state-wide survey to look into the issue of age discrimination against older drivers, pinpoint causes and create solutions.

The commission, working in partnership with COTA Victoria, will use the survey to collect information from older Victorians about their experiences behind the wheel, both good and bad.

Acting commissioner, Karen Toohey, said the commission is seeking information about whether older people are treated unfairly on the roads including licensing and re-testing requirements.

“This study is very timely, given the increase in concerns that have been raised with the commission by older drivers,” Ms Toohey said.

“One example we heard recently was that of a woman in her 70s who double parked in order to assist someone who had fallen off his bike.

“A member of the public reported her to VicRoads because they incorrectly believed she had hit him and then she was required to provide medical evidence before she could be declared fit to drive again.

“This survey will do more than just uncover the persistent challenges facing older drivers. It will help provide practical solutions and a framework for the Commission to work with the relevant authorities to help ensure that older drivers are not discriminated against on the basis of their age.”

CEO of COTA Victoria, Sue Hendy, said the survey is important because it will fill the vacuum of research in this area. 

“All too often we hear incidences of discrimination against older drivers,” Ms Hendy said.

“We want to hear from older drivers themselves about their experiences on the roads – issues like being reported for unfit driving; licence re-testing and medical reviews and the role of family members, health professionals, insurance companies and police in these processes.”

The commission will publish a report on its findings including recommendations for action in mid-2012.

The survey can be completed online at www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/olderdrivers or call 1300 292 153 to complete the survey over the phone or email research@veohrc.vic.gov.au.

Older drivers may also contact COTA Victoria’s Seniors Information Service in person at 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne or by calling 1300 13 50 90.

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