Barry Leddicoat / Sunshine Coast Daily

Older drivers want time to have a say on law changes

A SENIOR citizen advocate has called on the State Government to give elderly people more time to comment on recommendations to change the laws governing older drivers.

Independent Retirees Sunshine Coast branch president Helen Sava believes there has been a "miscarriage of justice" in the way the state's 160,000 licence holders over 75 have been informed of the proposal.

Comments will be taken until this Friday, exactly a month after they opened.

The report by the Older Driver Safety Advisory Committee includes 26 recommendations to be considered by the government.

They cover a broad range of subjects including speed limits, medical certificates and vehicle safety.

Ms Sava has asked that the deadline be pushed back a further two months and a questionnaire on the recommendations be made available in print because not many people aged 75 and older have access to the internet.

"I'd say about 90% of the people these recommendations are about haven't even heard of it," she said.

"I found out only after a friend mentioned it to me. A lot of other people I've spoken to haven't heard about it either.

"We're not trying to stop the amendments. We'd just like to offer our own suggestions so parliament can consider them.

"We need time to come back with educated and researched responses to some of the issues as the original committee did not research with the seniors' community at large and therefore we need to add some additional information." A two-month extension would allow MPs more time to notify people within their electorate.

"Each MP should publicly put out information so senior drivers know about it and can make an educated response," she said.

Ms Sava has written to every MP in the state but said she had been "stonewalled".

She is yet to hear back from the office of her local MP, Jarrod Bleijie, and a letter sent from the Department of Transport and Main Roads said Minister Scott Emerson had made a number of announcements regarding the public release of the committee's report, and along with events involving older drivers, had generated significant media attention.

Mr Emerson has previously said he wanted to hear the feedback of the community, particularly older drivers or those with friends and family who are older drivers.

>> SOME OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Maintaining the current five-year driver licence option for older drivers but renew medical certificates annually.
  • Reviewing speed limit criteria to take into account the aging driver population.
  • To read the report and the full recommendations, visit tmr.qld.gov.au/odsac by November 9.



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