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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.
LICENSE RENEWAL FOR SENIOR DRIVERS
Kentucky 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 TC driver license 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 Kentucky Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. Kentucky has a [ Medical Review Board Program] consisting of physicians from various fields, and if required, evaluates drivers before the Division of Driver Licensing issues a license. For license-related queries, call (502) 564-6800.
THE VISION TEST
Most senior drivers in Kentucky 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 TC driver license office. 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 TC driver license office.
The Kentucky TC's vision standard is 20/60 or better in at least one eye. Also, a vertical field of 25 degrees above and below fixation and a horizontal field of 35 degrees to either side are required. If you do not meet the standard, you may be referred to a licensed vision specialist. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist.
When you return to the TC driver license office for another vision test, your specialist's report will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent TC vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if necessary). The Kentucky Department for the Blind provides a bioptic program with special training. Contact (800) 895-3863 for further details.
THE TC REEXAMINATION
A TC 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 TC 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. Incompetent drivers (a driver with blackout spells, seizures, or erratic driving) can be reported to the Medical Review Board at the TC driver license office. If the reporting person is not a doctor, lawyer, police officer, or a county officer, then at least 2 people should have reported about a driver being a threat. A [ review form] can be submitted to:
Kentucky Medical Review Board
Division of Driver Licensing
State Office Building
Frankfort, KY 40622
The reexamination involves the immediate evaluation of an individual by a TC 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.