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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 Louisiana Office 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
Louisiana 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 OMV 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 Louisiana Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For further queries, you can call (877) 368-5463.
THE VISION TEST
Most senior drivers in Louisiana 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 OMV. 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 OMV.
The Louisiana OMV's vision standard is 20/40 with or without glasses, and if you do not meet the standard you will be issued a Vision Examination Form and referred to a licensed vision specialist. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist:
- You should get your vision checked and return the Vision Examination Form to the Office of Motor Vehicles within 30 days from the date it was issued. The vision specialist (a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist) will perform a full vision examination and assess whether your eyesight permits you to drive safely.
- The vision specialist may prescribe eyeglasses or another type of vision correction. Since the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles will need to retest your vision, make sure to carry out the vision specialist's recommendations before returning to the OMV.
When you return to the OMV for another vision test, your Vision Examination Form will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent OMV vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if necessary).
The Louisiana OMV has no driving restrictions for hearing impaired drivers. Drivers with a seizure history also do not have a time period, for which they have to be seizure-free before resuming driving. A medical report from the physician supporting your driving ability will help you resume driving.
There are several forms available on the Louisiana OMV website including Medical Examination Form, Report of Driver Condition or Behavior Physician's Statement of Mobility Impairment, Physician's Statement for Seat Belt Exemption Form. Drivers felt to be incompetent or unsafe can be reported to the OMV with the Report of Driver Condition or Behavior form filled and mailed to:
Office of the Motor Vehicles Attn: Driver's License Suspension Unit P.O. Box 64886. Baton Rouge, LA 70896-4886.
Louisiana OMV also provides oral tests for testing driving knowledge and deaf interpreters on request. Call (877) 368-5463 for more details.
Applicants unable to physically present to the OMV can apply through somebody by submitting a Statement of Mobility Impairment form and a color photo. The representing person should be able to answer questions related to the driver's disability.
THE OMV REEXAMINATION
An OMV 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. An OMV 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 an OMV authorized 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.