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 Kansas 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
Kansas drivers between the age of 21 and 64 receive a license that is valid for 6 years. Drivers who are 65 years of age or older can renew it for 4 years. At the time their current driver license expires, they are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DMV office. In addition to taking a vision test (see below); you are required to pass an open book examination relating to traffic signals and laws. In preparation for this, you can review the Kansas Driving Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. A new photograph will be taken and new signature required, and you can get your license renewed. For license-related queries at the DMV, you can call (785) 296-3963. Hearing impaired drivers can call (785) 296-3601. Alternately, queries could be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE VISION TEST
All senior drivers in Kansas 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 Kansas DMV's vision standard is 20/40 in at least one eye, and if you do not meet the standard you will be issued a vision form and 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. Bring the vision form, completed by the vision specialist, back to your local DMV office.
- If you have had a vision test performed within 90 days from the date of license renewal, a new vision test is not needed.
- The vision specialist may prescribe eyeglasses or another type of vision correction. Since the Kansas Division 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 vision 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 necessary).
THE DMV REEXAMINATION
A DMV reexamination may be given 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 approved 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.
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.
- Drivers with a seizure history should have been seizure-free for at least 6 months before they can resume driving. Annual medical updates are then necessary until they have been free of seizures for at least 3 years.
- Hearing-impaired drivers can obtain a visor supplied by the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for their easy identification. Call KCDHH at (800) 432-0698 or (785) 267-6100 for more details on the visor.