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Senior Drivers in California

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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 California Department of Motor Vehicles wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

LICENSE RENEWAL FOR SENIOR DRIVERS

California drivers who are 70 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 DMV 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 California Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For faster service at the DMV, you can make an appointment for your visit online, or call 800-921-1117 or 800-777-0133.

THE VISION TEST

Most senior drivers in California 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 DMV. 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 DMV.

The California DMV's vision standard is 20/40, and if you do not meet the standard you will be issued a Report of Vision Examination and referred to a licensed vision specialist. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist:

  • If you received the Report of Vision Examination during a DMV visit to renew your license, you will be issued a temporary, 30-day license, provided that your eyesight is 20/70 or better in both eyes. The temporary license will enable you to see 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. Bring the Report of Vision Examination, completed by the vision specialist, back to your local DMV office.
  • The vision specialist may prescribe eyeglasses or another type of vision correction. Since the California Department of Motor Vehicles will need to retest your vision, make sure to carry out the vision specialist's recommendations before returning to the DMV

When you return to the DMV for another vision test, your Report of Vision Examination will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent DMV vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if neccesary). In the event that you fail the subsequent DMV vision test, you will need to take a driving test known as the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (see below). This test is used to determine whether you can compensate for your vision condition while driving. Your driver license will be renewed if you pass this driving test.

THE SUPPLEMENTAL DRIVING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Senior drivers are sometimes asked to take a specific driving test - the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation - to determine whether they are able to safely operate a motor vehicle. Failing this test, which may be given to drivers of any age, could result in your license being restricted, suspended or revoked. Most commonly, the test is given in one of the following situations:

  1. A driver fails to meet the DMV's vision standard, or
  2. A driver may lack certain driving skills, or have another physical or psychological condition that hinders his or her driving abilities.

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. If you pass the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation, you will be able to keep or renew your California driver license.

THE DMV REEXAMINATION

A DMV 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 DMV 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 DMV 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 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.
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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Submitted by lortay on 28th Nov 2015

My father's license has been

My father's license has been revoked and he continues to drive. He has been in several hit and run accidents but pays people off without reporting any insurance issue. How can we get him off the streets before he hurts someone?

Submitted by poppypotts on 9th Oct 2015

Other states have discounted

Other states have discounted vehicle registration for seniors. why is california so tight with us? if you renew online now you pay an extra 50 dollars almost. that is a shame when social security never gets a raise. you charge an extra fee because you don't have to do any work. thats insane. this state is communist all the way

Submitted by Joanne Jacobs on 17th Sep 2015

My elderly mother can't get

My elderly mother can't get documents notarized because her drivers' license expired. But she can't get to the DMV to apply for a senior ID card because she's too frail. How can she get an ID card?

Submitted by Pat Kelly on 25th Jul 2015

I just passed my driving

I just passed my driving test, but my license was renewed for only two years. Why? I am 82 and require glasses.

Submitted by avherrmann on 29th Jun 2015

I am 70 years old with a

I am 70 years old with a perfect CA driving record of almost 50 years and no medical problems. So why am I required to take a written test?

Submitted by Lfonbuena on 3rd Sep 2015

I am 76 years, good physical

I am 76 years, good physical condition, no medical problems with perfect driving record. My last application for a Drivers license, i was given a test and pass it. My drivers License will expire this April 2015 and i an going to the Philippines this October and be there for 18 months as Church Missionary. Can i renew my drivers license by mail?

Can

Submitted by Lfonbuena on 3rd Sep 2015

Where can i get a drivers

Where can i get a drivers License application and where should i send it?

Submitted by Lfonbuena on 3rd Sep 2015

Where can i get a drivers

Where can i get a drivers License application and where should i send it?

Submitted by Lfonbuena on 3rd Sep 2015

Where can i get a drivers

Where can i get a drivers License application and where should i send it?

Submitted by amarjeet sehmi on 15th Jun 2015

I had car driving license in

I had car driving license in India that has expired. I moved to US and now US citizen. I am 78 yrs. and good sight and working limbs. I need just driving license for scooter for local use and medical purpose.

Submitted by janp on 10th May 2015

Is there a way to download

Is there a way to download the form for getting an ID card rather than renewing a driver's license online?

Submitted by peggy32 on 8th Jun 2015

I want to change my address

I want to change my address and apply for an identification card.

Submitted by sshoho on 15th Apr 2015

How do you report a 84 year

How do you report a 84 year old who has dementia and should not be driving any more?

Submitted by Arlene Baca-Cardera on 24th Jun 2013

Can a person who is homebound

Can a person who is homebound get a CA Senior ID?

Submitted by Jordvincze on 3rd Jun 2013

My father in law is 82 and on

My father in law is 82 and on a 100% disability from several Korean war injuries including head, leg and arm wounds. We his POAs believe he should no longer be driving and his license should be revoked. He has had been involved in several (3) previous accidents and pays the damaged persons off in cash rather than report to his insurance Co. Recently he was involved in an accident where he described to us as a fender bender but come to find our his and another's vehicles were totaled. Talking with his insurance agent agrees that he should no longer drive. But because no injuries were reported they have no reason to refuse to insure him. Why do we have to wait for him to injure someone to have his license revoked? I need to know if there is a way to have him retested with a person who won't turn a blind eye on him because of his disabilities while serving his country. We recently made an appointment to have an evaluation done by his primary veterans doctor and are waiting for his

reply, however he did not indicate the likelihood of doing anything.

Submitted by jducharme on 3rd Apr 2013

Is there a way to anonymously

Is there a way to anonymously report elderly drivers who are unsafe and dangerous to themselves and others?

Submitted by shirleyy on 18th Dec 2012

I am currently 73 years of

I am currently 73 years of age and my license expires 11/18/13. I have an excellent driving record. Current restriction is that I wear glasses/contact lenses. What will be required to renew my license?

Submitted by cirveda on 18th Mar 2012

I am 79 years, 80 in

I am 79 years, 80 in September. I would like to have a driver test to see if I am still capable of driving. Have had no problem but the past year I had some physical health problems. I believe I am still capable but to put my family at ease, I would like to be checked out.

Thank you for your earliest reply. Cirveda

Submitted by loretta chicoine on 15th Apr 2013

my mother needs help with

my mother needs help with reading the questions how do we get someone italian

Submitted by Joann Holloway on 21st Aug 2011

My Mom is 94 in September.

My Mom is 94 in September. The DMV gave her a new license a year ago WITHOUT a driving test. She nearly mowed down a neighbor boy on his bike and is a terrible driver.

I worry about her killing someone. How do I request that the DMV make her take a

driving test?

Submitted by nissa on 20th May 2015

my mom ran into a store

my mom ran into a store window. she's 71 and i was w her. pure forgetfulness. scared the crap- outta me. it was on GG Blvd in Ca. she drives my daughter and it scares me, they overlooked her mistakes, taking test 3 times and NOT passing. and issued her a new license.

Submitted by nissa on 20th May 2015

She Did Not want the DMV to

She Did Not want the DMV to know....... HA! not w my daughter.

Submitted by hayley10 on 19th Aug 2011

My father is unable to drive

My father is unable to drive and has not renewed his driver's license. The question I have is how does he acquire a California ID with his picture without getting a actual driver's license? He requires it for writing checks, banks, etc.

Submitted by Sandyjrg on 12th Oct 2014

Just go into DMV they have an

Just go into DMV they have an application just to get a ID

Submitted by kollskduS on 9th Aug 2011

My father is 62 and has been

My father is 62 and has been unable to walk by himself for 5 yrs. He is unable to judge distance and amount of pressure in his feet, also he has frequent dizzy spells and has driven like that, his eye sight is also bad, but you constantly mail him a new drivers license. You people should evaluate he disabled people more than just having them sit and then renew there license for them.

Submitted by sbolzoni on 31st Jul 2011

I live in NY state ,86 years

I live in NY state ,86 years old with a clean driving record and intend to move to CA in a few months.Could you tell me what I have to do to obtain a driver's licence in CA?

Submitted by harveyn on 18th Oct 2013

what is needed?

what is needed?

Submitted by ilovemarco on 15th Mar 2013

My Mom has been bi-coastal

My Mom has been bi-coastal for years but has now sold the house in florida, and is living in CA. Her Fl license expires in 2016. Can she just wait until then to get herself a CA license?

Submitted by Sandyjrg on 12th Oct 2014

Any time you move you need to

Any time you move you need to up date addresses within 30 days inn Calif.

Submitted by imanalto on 1st Jun 2011

My mother has spent the last

My mother has spent the last few months in a nursing facility. She is improving but is currently in a wheelchair and practicing her walking. My question is this: Can a person who uses a walker still be licensed to drive a car?

Submitted by nilza on 30th May 2011

my 83 year old friend has her

my 83 year old friend has her drive licence revoked because she has failed on driving test because she freaked out a little for being tested. other than that she passed the written test well. Is there any chance she can get her driver license back through any other mean?

Submitted by Anonymous on 21st Apr 2011

My Dad is having tourble with

My Dad is having tourble with the written part of the test. He is 80. He has a perfect driving record, but has trouble reading and comprehending the questions, and missed 4 question out of 18 both times. My question is, how many times will they allow him to take the 18 question written test? Is it three time total, or can he do it again for $ 6.00?

Submitted by Sandyjrg on 12th Oct 2014

Maybe he could do a oral test

Maybe he could do a oral test

Submitted by Anonymous on 4th Apr 2011

My wife and I have the same

My wife and I have the same birthdate, 3/18/40 which is mine and 3/18/41 is her date. We both went in to take the test in early February and my wife recieved her new licence early last week. To date mine has not come in but my paper which they gave me at the DMV says I am ok until the 12th of April.. What is the story , should I expect it any day..

Submitted by Anonymous on 1st Apr 2011

My dad is 88, and should not

My dad is 88, and should not be driving. He has had black outs, and I do not know if the hospital or Drs has reported this. As his POA, I kind of have enough problems with dealing with him. Is there a way to annonomously have his license revoked? I need to know ASAP?

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Mar 2011

I got an appt. for driver's

I got an appt. for driver's license renewal for April 8-My license expires on 3/29

is there a grace period?

Norma