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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, many 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, vision test requirements and method of renewal available for older drivers.

State

Renewal cycle for older drivers

Proof of adequate vision required for older drivers

Mail or online renewal for older drivers

Alabama

4 years

No

No

Alaska

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 69 and older

Not available to drivers 69 and older

Arizona

5 years for people 65 and older

Every renewal

No

Arkansas

8 years

Every renewal

No

California

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 70 and older

Not available to drivers 70 and older

Colorado

5 years

Every renewal

By mail every other renewal for drivers 66 and over

Connecticut

2 or 6 years for people 65 and older (1)

Every renewal

No

Delaware

8 years

Every renewal

No

District of Columbia

8 years

Every renewal

Not available to drivers 70 and older.

Florida

6 years for people 80 and older

Every renewal for drivers 80 and older

Every other renewal

Georgia

6 years for people 80 and older

Every renewal for drivers 64 and older

Not available to drivers 65 and older

Hawaii

5 years for people 59 and older

Every renewal

By mail but limited to 2 consecutive renewals

Idaho

4 years for people 63 and older

Every renewal

Not available to drivers 70 and older

Illinois

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

Every renewal for drivers 75 and older

Not available to drivers 75 and older

Indiana

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

Every renewal for drivers 75 and older

Not available to drivers 75 and older

Iowa

2 years for drivers 72 and older

Every renewal for drivers 70 and older

Not available to drivers 70 and older

Kansas

4 years for drivers 65 and older

Every renewal

No

Kentucky

4 years

No

No

Louisiana

6 years

Every renewal for drivers 70 and older

Generally not available to drivers 70 and older (2)

Maine

4 years for drivers 65 and older

Every renewal for drivers 62 and older

Not available to drivers 62 and older

Maryland

8 years

Every renewal for drivers 40 and older

Every other renewal

Massachusetts

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 75 and older

Not available to drivers 75 and older

Michigan

4 years

When renewing in person

Every other renewal

Minnesota

4 years

Every renewal

No

Mississippi

4 or 8 years

No

Online for every other renewal

Missouri

3 years for drivers 70 and older

Every renewal

No

Montana

4 years for drivers 75 and older

Every renewal

Every other renewal (effective 1/01/17)

Nebraska

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 72 and older

Not available to drivers 72 and older

Nevada

4 years for drivers 65 and older

Every renewal for drivers 71 and older

Every other renewal for drivers 65 and older

New Hampshire

5 years

Every renewal

Online every other renewal

New Jersey

2 or 4 years for drivers 70 and older

Every 10 years

By mail unless new photo required (3)

New Mexico

 for years for drivers 67-74; annually for drivers 75 and older

Every renewal for drivers 75 and older

Not available for drivers 75 and older

New York

8 years

Every renewal

Both

North Carolina

5 years for drivers 66 and older

Every renewal

No

North Dakota

4 years for drivers 78 and older

Every renewal

No

Ohio

4 years

Every renewal

No

Oklahoma

4 years

No

No

Oregon

8 years

Every renewal for drivers 50 and older

No

Pennsylvania

2 or 4 years for drivers 65 and older

No

Both

Rhode Island

2 years for drivers 75 and older

Every renewal

Online every other renewal

South Carolina

5 years for drivers 65 and older

Every 5 years

By mail for 5 years, every other renewal

South Dakota

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 65 and older

Both every other renewal

Tennessee

8 years (effective 1/01/16)

No

Both

Texas

2 years for drivers 85 and older

Every renewal for drivers 79 and older

Not available to drivers 79 and older

Utah

5 years

Every renewal for drivers 65 and older

Online every other renewal

Vermont

2 or 4 years

No

By mail unless new photo required (4)

Virginia

5 years for drivers 75 and older

Every renewal for drivers 75 and older

Not available to drivers 75 and older

Washington

6 years

Every renewal

Not available to drivers 70 and older

West Virginia

8 years

Every renewal

No

Wisconsin

8 years

Every renewal

No

Wyoming

4 years

Every 8 years

By mail every other renewal

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

(1) 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.

(2) In Louisiana, a driver age 70 and older can renew by mail or online if they have been medically diagnosed with a disability that precludes them from renewing in person. The driver must submit a sworn affidavit by a physician certifying that the driver possesses all cognitive functions reasonably necessary to be a prudent driver.

(3) New Jersey law states that a stored picture cannot be used for a period exceeding four additional years.

(4) Vermont law states that a driver is required to update their photo "no less often than once every eight years."

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