Senior Drivers in Connecticut
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 Connecticut 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
Connecticut drivers who are 65 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. A license can also be renewed at a DMV satellite office, DMV Photo License Center, DMV Photo License Bus, or AAA. However, you may only renew it at AAA if you have your current license.
Senior drivers also have the option of renewing their license by mail if they meet certain requirements and are unable to go in person. Drivers over 65 years of age can only renew their license for a 2-year period. 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 Connecticut Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For faster service at the DMV, you can contact the DMV at (860) 263-5700 in the Hartford and Outside Connecticut area and call (800) 842-8222 elsewhere in Connecticut.
The Vision Test
Senior drivers in Connecticut who renew their license in person may 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 and bring the vision test report.
The Connecticut DMV’s vision standards cover visual acuity, the horizontal visual field, and color perception. The visual acuity should be at least 20/40 in each eye. If you are blind in one eye, the other eye must have a visual acuity of 20/30. If you do not meet the standard, you may be referred to a licensed vision specialist who may perform a full vision examination and assess whether your eyesight permits you to drive safely.
Connecticut DMV has a host of medical forms and applications that can be used by a driver to inform the DMV of any medical condition that might need consideration when issuing or renewing a license. The DMV may choose to ask for a periodic medical update on these drivers.
Drivers with disabilities can continue to drive, provided the vehicle is equipped for it. Contact the Handicapped Driver Training Unit on (860) 263-5097 for more information.
The DMV Retest
A DMV retest 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 retest 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 retest. Unsafe senior drivers can be reported to the DMV by anybody by sending a notarized report to:
Medical Qualifications Unit Department of Motor Vehicles 60 State St. Wethersfield, CT 06161-5070
Such drivers may be asked to take a 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 a situation when 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 evaluation, you will be able to keep or renew your Connecticut driver license.
The retest involves the immediate evaluation of an individual by a DMV authorized officer. It consists of an interview, and may also involve a vision test, a written test, and/or a driving test. Following the retest, the hearing officer will decide whether any action should be taken regarding your driving privilege, 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.
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.