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Driving test and seniors

When you get older do you have to take a driver's test more often to keep your driver's license? At what age does this begin?

In early March 2010, the United States Senate approved a driving-safety bill mandating that elderly drivers prove to their doctors that they are physically and mentally able to handle driving. This bill is placed stricter requirements on drivers over the age of 75. This new law requires doctors and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to develop tests to determine the physical and mental capabilities of the elderly driver.

Safe driving is necessary for everyone, especially for the elderly people. For the drivers, who are over 75, there are some strict rules in every state. They can only drive if the doctor declares them as mentally and physically fit to handle the responsibility of safe driving. They should go through the strict taste to prove their capabilities.

Driving ability generally goes beyond the physical fitness or ability to drive the vehicle. Cognitive abilities, good skills of driving, good behavior of driving and good vision and hearing capabilities are also necessary for everyone for safe driving. This is now really a difficult challenge for every adult child to help their parents to accept and comprehend that they are not more eligible for driving.

To renew the license after the age of 75 or before that, one should go for the tests like:

  • Vision tests.
  • Hearing tests.
  • Timely reaction test.
  • Road and other important written test.

Currently, the majority of drivers have to appear at their District of Motor Vehicles (DMV) every ten years to renew their licenses and pass a vision test (more about vision test). At the five-year mark, these drivers may renew online, not having to appear in person. However, elderly drivers would have to appear far more frequently and not have the online renewal option. The House version of the bill mandated that drivers over 75 have to appear in person at the DMV every five years to pass a vision test to renew their license. The Senate modified it slightly by requiring doctors and the RMV to develop tests that elderly drivers must pass. Doctors then have to report the results to the RMV. This must be repeated every three years. Pennsylvania has a deficit reporting law, requiring doctors to report disabilities to the DMV that would affect driving ability. The bill also added that drivers over 80 must pass the test to renew their licenses every three years instead of five.

States differ in their treatment of elderly drivers. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, the only states mandating road tests for drivers over 75 are Illinois and New Hampshire.

  • Illinois also requires that drivers between ages 81-86 renew their licenses every two years. Drivers 87 or older must renew annually.
  • In New Hampshire, mandatory driving tests for the elderly are proving to cut down on the number of accidents involving elderly drivers. The road test requirement mandates that the elderly appear in person to renew their licenses. They must do this twice as often (every five years) as everyone else (every ten years). Massachusetts is attempting to follow suit but encountering opposition.

In answer to the question above, the only states requiring actual driving road tests after the age of 75 are Illinois and New Hampshire. In those states, road tests would be more frequent for elderly drivers. Practically all states require some form of increased testing (e.g., vision, reaction time, hearing) once they pass the age of 75. In some states, the age is lowered to 70.

Age-Specific License Renewal Requirements


State License renewal cycle Proof of adequate vision
required at renewal
Mail or online renewal permitted
General
population
Older
population
General
population
Older
population
General
population
Older
population
Alabama 4 years 4 years no no no no
Alaska 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 69 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 69 and older
Arizona 12 years 5 years for people 65 and older every renewal every renewal no no
Arkansas 8 years 4 or 8 years for people 70 and older, personal option every renewal every renewal no no
California 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 70 and older, every renewal both, limited to 2 consecutive renewals not permitted 70 and older
Colorado 5 years 5 years every renewal every renewal both, limited to 2 consecutive renewals online or every other renewal by mail by mail, every other renewal for people 66 and older
Connecticut 6 years 2 years or 6 years for people 65 and older, personal option no no no no
Delaware 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal no no
District of Columbia 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 70 and older
Florida 8 years 6 years for people 80 and older when renewing in person 80 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal both, every other renewal
Georgia 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal online, every other renewal not permitted 64 and older
Hawaii 8 years 2 years for people 72 and older every renewal every renewal by mail, limited to 2 consecutive renewals, but must appear in person at least every 16 years by mail, limited to 2 consecutive renewals, but must appear in person at least every 16 years
Idaho 4 or 8 years, personal option 4 years for people 63 and older every renewal every renewal by mail, every other renewal; must choose 4-year license not permitted 70 and older
Illinois 4 years 2 years for people 81 - 86; 1 year for people 87 and older when renewing in person 75 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 75 and older
Indiana 6 years 3 years for people 75-84: 2 years for people 85 and older when renewing in person 75 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal not permitted 75 and older
Iowa 8 years or 74th birthday, whichever occurs first* 2 years for people 72 and older when renewing in person 70 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal not permitted 70 and older
Kansas 6 years 4 years for people 65 and older every renewal every renewal no no
Kentucky 8 years* (effective 01/01/19) 8 years* (effective 01/01/19) no no no* no*
Louisiana 6 years 6 years when renewing in person 70 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 70 and older*
Maine 6 years 4 years for people 65 and older first renewal after 40 and every other renewal until 62 62 and older, every renewal both, unless proof of vision required not permitted 62 and older
Maryland 8 years 8 years when renewing in person 40 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal both, every other renewal
Massachusetts 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 75 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal not permitted 75 and older
Michigan 4 years 4 years when renewing in person when renewing in person both, every other renewal both, every other renewal
Minnesota 4 years 4 years every renewal every renewal no no
Mississippi 4 or 8 years, personal option 4 or 8 years, personal option no no online, every other renewal online, every other renewal
Missouri 6 years 3 years for people 70 and older every renewal every renewal no no
Montana 8 years or 75th birthday, whichever occurs first 4 years for people 75 and older every renewal every renewal both, every other renewal both, every other renewal
Nebraska 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 72 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal not permitted 72 and older
Nevada 4 years (odd number birth years); 8 years (even number birth years); 8 years all licenses starting in 2018 4 years for people 65 and older when renewing in person 71 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal; available only for holders of a 4-year license both, every other renewal for people 65 and older
New Hampshire 5 years 5 years every renewal every renewal online, every other renewal online, every other renewal
New Jersey 4 years 2 or 4 years for people 70 and older, personal option every 10 years* every 10 years by mail, unless new photo required* by mail, unless new photo required*
New Mexico 4 or 8 years, personal option 4 years for people 67-74; 1 year for people 75 and older when renewing in person 75 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal; by mail, unless new photo required not permitted 75 and older
New York 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal both both
North Carolina 8 years 5 years for people 66 and older every renewal every renewal online, every other renewal online, every other renewal
North Dakota 6 years 4 years for people 78 and older every renewal every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 65 and older
Ohio 4 years 4 years every renewal every renewal no no
Oklahoma 4 years 4 years no no no no
Oregon 8 years 8 years no 50 and older, every renewal no no
Pennsylvania 4 years 2 years or 4 years for people 65 and older, personal option no no both both
Rhode Island 5 years 2 years for people 75 and older every renewal every renewal online, every other renewal online, every other renewal
South Carolina 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal both both
South Dakota 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 65 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal both, every other renewal
Tennessee 8 years* 8 years* no no both both
Texas 6 years 2 years for people 85 and older when renewing in person 79 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 79 and older
Utah 5 years 5 years when renewing in person 65 and older, every renewal online, every other renewal online, every other renewal
Vermont 2 or 4 years 2 or 4 years no no by mail, unless new photo required* by mail, unless new photo required*
Virginia 8 years 5 years for people 75 and older when renewing in person 75 and older, every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 75 and older
Washington 6 years 6 years every renewal every renewal both, every other renewal not permitted 70 and older
West Virginia 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal no no
Wisconsin 8 years 8 years every renewal every renewal no no
Wyoming 4 years 4 years every 8 years every 8 years by mail, every other renewal by mail, every other renewal

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Time to stop driving for the seniors

One can continue driving or can have the permission of license renewal if they passed those tests but after 75 it is minatory to test those abilities for every driver at the time of license renewal.

There also some warning and alarming signs for the elderly people that they are not any more capable of safe driving.

  • Late response to any unexpected situation.
  • Having some difficulties to maintain the correct traffic rule or knowing the right traffic lane.
  • Becoming distracted easily while they are driving.
  • Lack of confidence to drive.
  • Hitting the curbs when backing up or taking the turns.
  • Getting many dents and scrapes in the car, mailbox or garage.
  • Getting many close calls.
  • Losing control over the speed of the car while driving .
  • Missing the traffic signal.
  • If one’s health condition is not good and suffering from a heart problem, nerve issues or other severe health issues, they should stop driving.

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