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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 Colorado Division 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
Colorado drivers are expected to renew their license every 5 years once they turn 60. Colorado drivers are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DMV office. You do not have the option of renewing online in Colorado. You can check your eligibility to know if you can renew it by mail. If you are eligible, you can send the filled in form along with the required fees to the Department of Revenue (address of which is on the form). 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 Colorado Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For enquires with the DMV, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (300) 205-5600, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m.
THE VISION TEST
Most senior drivers in Colorado 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. More frequent screenings will be required for older applicants. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to bring them with you to the DMV. In addition, if you have not 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 Colorado DMV's vision standard is 20/40, and if you do not meet the standard you will be issued a Confidential Medical/Eye Examination Form and referred to a licensed vision specialist. The cost of this visit will be borne by the applicant. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist:
- If you received the Confidential Medical/Eye Examination Form during a DMV visit to renew your license, 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 Confidential Medical/Eye Examination Form 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 Colorado Department of Revenue 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 Confidential Medical/Eye Examination Form 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 the visual specialist feels that driving would not be safe, no further driving testing will be allowed.
THE DMV RE-EXAMINATION
A DMV re-examination 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 such as involvement in 2 or more accidents in 3 years, involvement in accident that was fatal, law enforcement agency reported incident, medical report from a specialist, or a written request submitted by a family member.
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 enrol in a driver's education program or driving school for seniors to brush up their skills.
A re-examination notice gives 20 days to take the re-exam. If not re-examined within this period, the license will stand cancelled. Following the reexamination, the hearing officer will decide whether any action should be taken regarding your returning your driving privilege or returning it with restrictions or probation, suspension or revocation.
REFRESHER DRIVING COURSE
In Colorado, some senior drivers may also enrol in a refresher driving course as these help to reduce their auto insurance liabilities. Currently such refresher courses are offered only by the organisations AARP and I Drive Safely.
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.