Obtaining and maintaining a drivers license as a senior can be a more complex process than getting and renewing a license at a younger age. In addition to the rules and regulations that must be followed by drivers of all ages, seniors in many states are governed by supplemental guidelines, as well. These guidelines affect every aspect of securing and holding a drivers license. Understanding what these rules are, how they are different between states and what they mean for senior drivers is the first step to navigating them smoothly and without undue difficulties.
Drivers tests are the crucial gateway to obtaining a drivers license. Of the three types of exams that must be passed when a driver first applies for a license, the vision exam is the likeliest to come up again later in a driver engagement with the DMV and its services. Renewing a license and replacing a lost license can both re-expose senior drivers to the vision test. As such, being familiar with the options for streamlining and simplifying the eye test and its submission can make a significant difference in a driver’s ease of engagement with the system.
Common life changes can prompt seniors to make critical changes to their primary identifying documents, such as a drivers license. For example, marriage, divorce and other life events can force license-holders to pursue drivers license name change procedures. They may also require a drivers license change of address, which requires similar sets of required documents. Upcoming sections will help seniors identify these differences and gather the correct documents in preparation for each type of change. Other sections will explore lesser-known – but equally valuable – opportunities available through the DMV catalogue of driver services, such as obtaining a veteran designation on licenses and managing traffic tickets or car registration via online systems.
Some driver services are largely unique to seniors. Surrendering a license, including when, why and how to do so, is a prime example. Upcoming sections will explore this subject and introduce seniors to helpful, related ideas, such as non-driver ID cards. Below, seniors will find everything they need to maintain positive and effective relationships with their DMVs as their driving needs and experiences change.
How to Apply for a New Drivers License
A senior drivers license can help an older adult retain his or her autonomy and mobility while aging, and is often closely associated with an individual’s perception of independence. Federal law prohibits state drivers license regulations from discriminating against any applicant solely on the basis of age, and nearly 50 million adults age 65 and older held valid drivers licenses in 2015. However, states’ DMV drivers license policies are also required to protect all drivers by ensuring that licenses are issued only to individuals capable of driving safely. As a result, most states’ regulations governing the issuance of a new drivers license or the renewal of a senior’s license to drive incorporate provisions intended to identify applicants who may be suffering from, or receiving treatment for, medical conditions that inhibit their abilities to safely operate vehicles. For example, older drivers are not permitted to renew a drivers license online in many states. Instead, they must appear at a DMV in person to do so, and may be required to take a practical driving exam or complete a vision assessment each time. DMV provisions for senior drivers are inconsistent. Each state determines which guidelines to use and what age an applicant must reach before the extra layer of rules or screenings begins to apply. Successfully learning how to apply for a driver license requires that older adults familiarize themselves with the specific rules and regulations applicable to seniors in the state(s) in which they live and wish to drive, as well as the steps they can take to prepare themselves to meet those standards.
Driving Exams Overview Information
There are three drivers test requirements that must be passed for a senior to obtain his or her first drivers license. The first is a drivers license test consisting of a functional evaluation of a driver’s ability to handle his or her vehicle on the road. The second is a written drivers test, which focuses on the driver’s understanding of and familiarity with the information contained in the state’s driver’s handbook. The third test is a vision exam to confirm that an applicant can see clearly enough, with or without aids, to safely operate a motor vehicle. Older drivers may be required to retake the vision portion of these driving exams each time they renew their licenses after reaching a state’s designated “older adult” cutoff. Rarely, seniors may be required to retake the road skills test, as well. Understanding what each exam entails can prepare senior drivers to pass these tests without undue stress and promote positive results.
How to Renew a Drivers License
How often a senior needs to renew drivers license credentials varies by his or her state of residence and specific age. Drivers license renewal intervals are not governed by any uniform national standards. Renewing drivers license credentials may need to be done after as few as two years in some states, but not for eight years at a time in others. How to renew drivers license credentials frequently becomes an issue of increasing concern to drivers as they age and become subject to different, more restrictive regulations governing their ability to renew and retain their driving privileges. Understanding DMV license renewal rules and limitations as they apply to older drivers can help seniors be prepared for these changes and ease the transition into the new standards under which they need to work.
How to Replace a Drivers License
A stolen or lost drivers license can present many challenges and hazards, and should be replaced as quickly as possible. Replacement drivers license credentials not only keep senior drivers compliant with driving rules and regulations, but can help protect personal information and prevent identity theft. Before seeking a drivers license replacement, authorities at all levels strongly recommend that all drivers report lost or stolen licenses to their local police departments as soon as possible. In some states, reporting a license known to be stolen is required by law. Regulations regarding the requests and issuances of duplicate drivers licenses are determined by individual states, and therefore, vary widely. Seniors seeking to replace drivers license credentials will need to refer to their local DMV offices and/or their state’s primary DMV websites for exact details on many aspects of the process, including the total fees to be assessed and a complete list of limitations applied to online driver license renewal options.
How to Change the Name on Your Drivers License
There are many reasons why a senior may wish to complete a drivers license name change in later years. Whether due to marriage, divorce or other circumstances, all senior drivers license name changes can be made through the state DMV. Seniors who want to change name on drivers license credentials for any reason must go to a DMV office to do so. A DMV name change to your license cannot be made online or by mail. To make the name change on license process easier and less time consuming, seniors or their caregivers should make appointments at the DMV before arrival. The appointment process to change name on driving license credentials differs from state to state. Most DMVs will allow online appointments, but some require the requests by phone.
How to Change the Address on Your Drivers License
At some point, seniors may wish to complete a drivers license change of address if they
move from their current homes into new residences. If this happens, they will need to change address on drivers license credentials by following a specific process. Luckily, this can be done through the DMV services in their states of residence. When a senior moves, he or she is required to complete a DMV change of address and possibly update the address on his or her license within a certain timeframe. These timeframes differ from state to state. In some states, the senior will be allowed one free DMV address change. There are limits to this waiver of fees, and certain stipulations may apply. There are different methods available when it comes to changing drivers license address information.
How to Obtain an Identification Card
Seniors of any age may receive an ID card if they wish. These ID cards are for identification, only, and are not meant for driving purposes. In some states, a regular ID card can be valid for up to eight years, and a senior citizen ID card can be valid for 10 years. To obtain a senior ID card, you must be 62 or older. If a senior wishes to get a DMV ID card, he or she can follow the DMV process. If a senior ID card is lost or stolen, then steps to replace ID card credentials should be taken to replace this important proof of identity item.
Information for Veteran Drivers
Seniors may be wondering, “What is a veteran designation on a driver’s license, and what are veteran IDs?” Seniors who are veterans may wish to obtain a veteran designation on license, ID cards or license plates to showcase their veteran statuses. If that is the case, there are steps regarding veteran DMV services that must be followed.
Driving Safety Tips
As seniors get older, safe driving tips become necessary to revisit. If you are a senior and are having vision trouble, are hearing impaired or have any other issues, driving and following road safety rules will become more of a problem as you get older. To combat this, review important road safety tips for how to manage your driving and remain safe on the road as you age.
How to Surrender Your Drivers License
In the United States, there is a senior’s surrender driving license process that may be completed by those senior citizens who are interested in eliminating their driving privileges. Although this process is relatively straightforward, the implications of a surrendered driver’s license for seniors can mean a reduction in insurance and overall car expenses, as well as peace of mind for those relatives close to a senior driver. In addition, a senior’s voluntary surrender of driving license privileges can be traded for photo-only identification, which may not need to be renewed, and will still allow the senior to enjoy other privileges afforded by state-validated identification. Whether a senior citizen is interested in surrendering his or her drivers license due to a lack of driving or the ability to drive, there is a variety of methods available so that seniors surrender driving license documentation within the state’s legal process, as opposed to simply not driving.