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Licensing-renewal procedures for elderly drivers


licensing for elderly driversGetting your license renewed is generally a pretty simple procedure. The state reviews your driving record, and if you don’t have suspensions or revocations, your new license will be issued. Most states require renewal applicants to appear in person and to pass a vision test -- though some allow renewal electronically or by mail. The significant differences are the length of time between renewals, ranging from 2 to 10 years. In addition, 26 states and the District of Columbia have provisions designed to guarantee that older adults continue to meet license requirements.

Renewal procedures for older drivers, typically between ages 65 to 70 and older, vary by state. Some states require elder drivers to renew their licenses in person rather than electronically or by mail.  They may even require them to take vision and road tests that are not routinely required of younger drivers. These special renewal procedures for older drivers can apply in addition to the license renewal procedures that exist in all states for dealing with licensed drivers of any age who no longer meet the standards for licensure because of physical or mental infirmities.

Too old to drive?

If a person's continued fitness to drive is in doubt (due to the person's demeanor at renewal or because of a history of crashes or violations and reports by physicians or police), state licensing agencies may require renewal applicants to undergo physical or mental examinations or retake the standard licensing tests (vision, written and road). In cases of doubt, states typically have medical review boards composed of health care professionals who advise on licensing standards and on individual cases. Of course, no matter what age you are, a bad driving record will lead to a high car insurance quote.

After reviewing a person's fitness to drive, the DMV may allow the person to retain the license or it may refuse to renew it. It can also suspend, revoke or restrict the license. Typical restrictions include prohibiting nighttime driving, requiring the vehicle to have additional mirrors, restricting driving to specified places or limiting how far an older person can drive from home.

The following chart indicates for the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia the periods for which licenses can be renewed, any accelerated renewal periods for older drivers, and other miscellaneous provisions applicable to older drivers.

The Institute also tracks state laws on licensing for teen drivers.

State

Length of regular renewal cycle

Accelerated renewal* for older drivers

Other provisions for older drivers

Alabama

4 years

None

None

Alaska

5 years

None

Mail renewal not available to people 69 and older and to people whose prior license renewal was by mail.

Arizona

Until age 65 (1)

5 years for people 65 and older

People 70 and older may not renew by mail. (1)

Arkansas

4 years

None

None

California

5 years

None

At age 70, mail renewal is prohibited. No more than two sequential mail renewals are permitted, regardless of age.

Colorado

10 years

5 years for people 61 and older

Electronic renewal not available to people over 66, but they can renew by mail if they provide an eye exam.

Connecticut

4- 6 years

None that are safety related (2)

None that are safety related (2)

Delaware

5 years

None

None

District of Columbia

5 years

None

At age 70, or nearest renewal date thereafter, a vision test is required and a subsequent road/written test may be required.. (3)

Florida

8 years

6 years for people 80 and older

Renewal applicants 80 and older must pass a vision test administered at any driver's license office or if applying by mail or electronically, must pass a vision test administered by a licensed physician or optometrist. (4)

Georgia

5 or 10 years, at the option of the driver. Veterans' licenses are valid until age 65.

5 years for people 60 and older

Vision tests for people 64 and older

Hawaii

8 years

2 years for people 72 and older

None

Idaho

4 years

Drivers ages 21-62 have the choice of a 4- or 8-year license. Drivers 63 and older will receive a 4-year license.

None

Illinois

4 years

2 years for drivers ages 81-86; 1 year for drivers 87 and older

Renewal applicants 75 and older must take a road test.

Indiana

6 years

3 years for drivers 75-84;  2 years for drivers 85 and older

Mail or electronic renewal not available to people 70 and older and to people whose prior renewal was electronic or by mail

Iowa

5 years

2 years for drivers 70 and older

None

Kansas

6 years

4 years for drivers 65 and older

None

Kentucky

4 years

None

None

Louisiana

4 years

None

Mail renewal not available to people 70 and older and to people whose prior renewal was by mail.

Maine

6 years

4 years for drivers 65 and older

Vision test required at first renewal after driver's 40th birthday and at every second renewal until age 62; thereafter, at every renewal.

Maryland

5 years

None

Vision test required at age 40 and older at every renewal
(5)

Massachusetts

5 years

None

None that are safety related (6)

Michigan

4 years

None

None

Minnesota

4 years

None

None that are safety related (7)

Mississippi

4 years

None

None

Missouri

6 years

3 years for drivers 70 and older and 21 and younger

None

Montana

8 years, 4 years if by mail, or on 75th birthday, whichever occurs first (8)

4 years for drivers 75 and older

None that are safety related (8)

Nebraska

5 years

None

None

Nevada

4 years

None

None that are safety related (9)

New Hampshire

5 years

None

Renewal applicants age 75 and older must take a road test.

New Jersey

4 years

None

None

New Mexico

4 or 8 years at driver's option

67 or younger: 4 or 8 years at driver’s option; older than 67: every 4 years; annually for drivers 75 and older

None

New York

8 years

None

None

North Carolina

8 years

5 years for drivers 54 and older

None that are safety related (10)

North Dakota

4 years

None

None

Ohio

4 years

None

None

Oklahoma

4 years

None

None that are safety related (11)

Oregon

8 years

None

Vision screening is required every 8 years for drivers 50 and older.

Pennsylvania

4 years

None

None

Rhode Island

5 years

2 years for drivers 75 and older

None

South Carolina

10 years
(12)

5 years for drivers 65 and older

Vision test required for people 65 and older.

South Dakota

5 years

None

None

Tennessee

5 years

None

None that are safety related
(13)

Texas

6 years

2 years for drivers 85 and older

Mail or electronic renewal not available to people 79 and older.

Utah

5 years

None

Vision test required for people 65 and older.

Vermont

4 years

None

None

Virginia

8 years

None

Vision test required for people 80 and older.

Washington

5 years

None

None

West Virginia

5 years

None

None

Wisconsin

8 years

None

None

Wyoming

4 years

None

None

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

(1) In Arizona, the license is valid until age 65. Any person older than 65 who is renewing by mail must submit a vision test verification form. The vision test or examination must be conducted not more than 3 months before.

(2) In Connecticut, people 65 and older may choose a 2-year or 6-year renewal cycle. A personal appearance at renewal generally is required. Upon a showing of hardship, people age 65 and older may renew by mail.

(3) The District of Columbia specifically states that an applicant will not be required to retake the written test or road test based solely on advanced age. But those over 70 must provide a doctor’s note certifying they are competent to drive.

(4) Florida allows only two successive renewals to be made electronically or by mail, regardless of age.

(5) Maryland law specifies that age alone is not grounds for reexamination of drivers. Applicants for an initial license age 70 and older must provide proof of previous satisfactory operation of a vehicle or physician’s certificate of fitness.

(6) Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination by reason of age with regard to licensing.

(7) Minnesota law specifies that age alone is not a justification for reexamination.

(8) Montana allows only two successive renewals may be made electronically or by mail, regardless of age.

(9) In Nevada, applicants for mail renewal age 70 and older must provide a medical report.

(10) In North Carolina, people 60 and older are not required to parallel park in the road test.

(11) In Oklahoma, the license fee is reduced for drivers 62-64 and is waived for drivers 65 and older.

(12) Every  licensee is required to submit to a vision test every 5 years.

(13) In Tennessee, fees are reduced for drivers 60 and older. Licenses issued to people 65 and older do not expire.

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