MONTREAL - Paul Dubé has been driving since 1924.

One of just seven centenarians in Quebec with a driver's license, he's proud of still being in control when he gets behind the wheel.

"I have a summer cottage near Mont Tremblant and I go there every weekend," said Dubé.

Until a few years ago, he was making annual trips to Miami, making the 2,640 km journey in just two days.

"I drive my car like if I [am] 20 years old."

Drivers Dubé's age may be a rare breed, but drivers over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing segment of Quebec's driving population.

Within 25 years 1.5 million drivers will be over 65, and they are expected to be very confident in their skills and unwilling to give up what they see as a right.

Milton Dawes, 79, says he's a better driver now than he was 40 years ago, because he has "more experience."

"You get to anticipate more of the things people do so you can predict better than before," said Dawes.

Statistics show older drivers are more collision-prone

Yet statistics show that many seniors are not as good at driving as they used to be.

Teenagers may be the most dangerous drivers on the road, but seniors are a close second.

While many are less likely to speed, take the highway and drive in snow or rain, they are involved in more collisions.

For every 100,000 kilometres driven, drivers 75 and over are linked, on average, to 2.33 deaths. That's more than double the rate for drivers aged 25 to 44.

Despite degrading skills, the Automobile Insurance Board (SAAQ) does not require older drivers to undergo road tests.

When a driver turns 75 they are required to take a medical exam, with another exam at age 80 and every two years after that.

People who fail the medical exam can see their driving privileges reduced, including being prevented from driving at night or going more than 10 kilometres from home, but they will not undergo a road test unless a doctor orders one.

Seniors don't have the reflexes of younger drivers

Driving instructor Uli Zamir sees many seniors who are undergoing retraining.

He says many seniors just don't have the reflexes to safely control a car.

"The reaction time is getting longer," said Zamir.

"They're also panicking. I had cases when people used to press the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal."

Maureen Daniels, 75, was pulled off the road after she received a speeding ticket and the police officer ordered a driving test.

"I had two road tests and they didn't pass me on either one," said Daniels.

She was devastated by the failure, but determined to get back behind the wheel, she underwent yet another re-evaluation, this time by driving instructor Zamir and an occupational therapist, Felice Wise.

Daniels says too many people depend on her ability to drive.

"My husband is blind and deaf and I take him to the office and take him back. My son has had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma four times. I have a lot of driving to do for him," said Daniels.

During her evaluation Daniels drove well, but failed to slow down to go over a speed bump.

"I feel I should have passed," said Daniels.

Seniors face many obstacles

Yvan Bergeron, another occupational therapist, works at the Montreal Geriatric Institute, and has the power to pull older drivers off the road.

The list of obstacles people face as they age is long.

"Coordination, lack of strength, or lack of endurance to stay 15 minutes or half an hour in a car driving. It could also be eyesight that gives them problems," said Bergeron.

Wise, who was evaluating Daniels in her road exam, says fading eyesight is not as important as what's happening in an older person's brain.

"They're just slower all around, slower at making decisions," said Wise.

"It's attention, it's decision-making, it's executive skills."

Wise feels that relying on medical professionals to catch older drivers is not sufficient.

"Right now, all they have to do is get a letter signed by their doctor and a vision test and it's really not enough, it's truly not enough," said Wise.

"Doctors sign, [because] they don't have the time to deal with their patients, they don't want to jeopardize their doctor-patient relationships."

Ontario eliminated mandatory driver testing

Dr. Jamie Dow, who advises the SAAQ on road safety, thinks it is enough, and thinks mandatory re-testing would be a waste of time and money.

"It's just not a cost effective route," said Dow.

"In Ontario, they tried it and they abolished it because the pass rate was over 98 percent."

The SAAQ checks up on 15,000 seniors each year, and roughly one third lose their driving permits.

"The idea for us is to let people drive as long they're safe. It's just some people you have to check more closely than others to make sure they are safe," said Dow.

With more seniors on the road, instructor Zamir says mandatory tests would make things safer for all.

"I think that's the way to go."

Daniels doesn't care about the debate one way or the other, and is only focused on getting her license.

"I've been driving since I was in high school with a license of my own, since I was about 16 years old" she said.

"I think I'm a fine driver."