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 North Dakota Motor Vehicle Division wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

License Renewal For Senior Drivers

North Dakota 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 MVD office. There are no other restrictions on senior drivers in North Dakota. All licensees must take a vision test (see below) before renewing a license.

You may in certain situations be asked to take a written knowledge test as well. In preparation for this, you can review the North Dakota Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For license-related queries, you can call (701) 328-2600.

The Vision Test

All drivers in North Dakota, at the time of renewing their license, 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 MVD. 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 MVD.

The North Dakota MVD’s vision standard is 20/40 without any corrective lenses to obtain an unrestricted license. If the combined vision is 20/50 or less, you may be referred to a licensed vision specialist.

When you return to the MVD for another vision test, your vision report will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent MVD vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if necessary).

The MVD Reexamination

An MVD 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 MVD 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 MVD 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 privileges, 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 poor vision, but others which may be age-related include cognitive skills like memory, coordination and flexibility. There are no restrictions for hearing-impaired or deaf drivers, though.

In some circumstances, older drivers may have a restriction placed on their driver license. If necessary, you could also request for a restriction to be placed on your license for a time period. 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.
  • Restrict driving only to and from work.

If you should have bodily dysfunction, for example, loss of any body part, report to:

Drivers License and Traffic Safety Division
North Dakota Department of Transportation
608 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0700
Last updated on Thursday, March 7 2019.