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Senior Drivers in Georgia

In addition to being a convenience and an enjoyable activity for many people, driving is also a symbol of one's independence. As we age, there are a numerous factors that can affect our driving skills, and hinder our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The Georgia Department of Driver Services wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

LICENSE RENEWAL FOR SENIOR DRIVERS

Georgia drivers who are 64 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DDS office. In addition to taking a vision test (see below), you may in certain situations be asked to take a written knowledge test as well. In preparation for this, you can review the Georgia Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal.

THE VISION TEST

All senior drivers in Georgia, 64 years of age or older, will be asked to undergo a basic vision test to ensure they are able to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to bring them with you to the DDS. In addition, if you haven't had your vision checked recently, or if you believe your eyesight has worsened, we recommend that you make an appointment with your vision specialist before visiting the DDS.

The Georgia DDS's vision standard is 20/60 and a horizontal visual field of 140 degrees. If you do not meet the standard you will be referred to a licensed vision specialist. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist:

  • The vision specialist (a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist) will perform a full vision examination and assess whether your eyesight permits you to drive safely. Have the vision specialist complete the Vision Report and mail it to:
    Department of Driver Services
    ATTN: Medical Unit
    P.O. Box 80477
    Conyers, GA 30013    
  • The vision specialist may prescribe eyeglasses or another type of vision correction. Since the Georgia Department of Driver Services will need to retest your vision, make sure to carry out the vision specialist's recommendations before returning to the DDS.
  • When you return to the DDS for another vision test, your Report of Vision Examination will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent DDS vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if necessary). You may also be given options like fitting a left-side rear-view mirror for safer driving.

MEDICAL EXAMINATION

Drivers may also be required to submit a medical report stating they are healthy and fit for driving. This test should have been performed by a physician licensed in Georgia and must have been performed within the last 12 months. The physician has to mail the form directly to
Department of Driver Services
ATTN: Medical Unit
P.O. Box 80477
Conyers, GA 30013    

THE DDS REEXAMINATION

A DDS reexamination is when a person's driving skills must be reevaluated based on one or more factors, including the driver's physical or mental condition, or driving record. A DDS reexamination may be recommended by a family member, physical or emergency medical technician, or peace officer. Other times, information in your license renewal application or on your driving record may prompt a reexamination. The reexamination involves the immediate evaluation of an individual by a DDS authorized officer. It consists of an interview, and may also involve a vision test, a written test, and/or a driving test. To prepare for the test, many older drivers choose to enroll in a driver's education program or driving school for seniors to brush up their skills. Following the reexamination, the hearing officer will decide whether any action should be taken regarding your driving privilege, such as restrictions, probation, suspension or revocation.

THE RESTRICTED DRIVER LICENSE

Sometimes, a physical or mental condition can impair a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The most common of these conditions is poor vision, but others which may be age-related include cognitive skills like memory, coordination and flexibility, usage of oxygen due to severe breathing difficulties, severe cardiac condition, etc. In some circumstances, older drivers may have a restriction placed on their driver license. The types of restrictions vary, and are based on the results of your vision test, driving test, and the driving examiner's assessment. A restricted driver license due to physical impairment is intended to ensure that you are driving within your abilities. Some of the most common license restrictions are those that:
  • Require eyeglasses, corrective contact lenses, or bioptic telescopic lens to be worn at certain times.
  • Permit driving from sunrise to sunset only, or prohibit driving during rush hour.
  • Restrict the geographical area in which a person is permitted to drive, or prohibit freeway driving.
  • Require special mechanical devices, or an additional side mirror on the vehicle.
  • Require extra support in order to ensure a safe and correct driving position.
  • A driver with a history of seizures should have been seizure free for 12 months before resuming driving privileges. Submit a medical report from your doctor before resuming driving.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

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