Senior Drivers in Arizona
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 numerous factors that can affect our driving skills, and hinder our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.
License Renewal For Senior Drivers
Arizona drivers enjoy an extended driver’s license which does not expire until the age of 65, though vision testing and photo need to be updated every 12 years. Drivers 60 years of age or older will, however, receive a license that is valid for only 5 years. Drivers are required to renew their license only in person at a local MVD office.
In addition to taking a vision test (see below) and getting a new photo, you may in certain situations be asked to take a written knowledge test as well. In preparation for this, you can review the Arizona Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. Supplemental traffic school courses are also available to help you update with the new rules on the road.
If not satisfied with the answers, you could call any of the numbers below Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. except on holidays.
Phoenix 602-255-0072 Tucson 520-629-9808 Elsewhere in Arizona: 800-251-5866
The Vision Test
Most senior drivers in Arizona who renew their license in person 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 MVD. 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 MVD.
The Arizona MVD’s vision standard is 20/40, and if you do not meet the standard, your license will indicate that you need to be wearing glasses or contact lenses for improving your vision. After age 60, vision testing every 5 years is required at the time of license renewal.
The MVD Reexamination
Arizona MVD has a re-examination request form that can be used 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. An MVD re-examination 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 re-examination. 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.
The re-examination involves the immediate evaluation of an individual by an MVD Driver Safety hearing officer. It consists of an interview, and may also involve a vision test, a written test, and/or a driving test. Following the re-examination, the hearing officer will decide whether any action should be taken regarding your driving privileges, such as restrictions, probation, suspension or revocation.
The Restricted Drivers 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 a poor vision, but others which may be age-related include cognitive skills like memory, coordination, and flexibility.
The Arizona MVD requires that it is notified at the earliest of any medical condition (newly diagnosed or worsening of an existing condition) that might hinder safe driving. A signed report with the name, date of birth, address, and description of the medical condition should be sent to:
Mail Box 818Z Medical Review Program P.O. Box 2100 Phoenix, AZ 85001-2100
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 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.
At the time of applying for a license, if you have had a seizure within the past 3 months, it must be reported to the MVD. A licensed driver with a history of seizures should get a medical clearance before they can resume driving again.
If you have a medical condition that might need to be listed on your license, you could bring a medical certificate not more than 90 days old. The MVD will then mention this on your license using a code.