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 Nevada 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
Nevada drivers are expected to renew their license once in 4 years by mail, online, or in person, but have to renew their license every 8 years in person only at a local DMV office. Drivers 70 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires are generally required to undergo a medical evaluation at the time of renewing by mail. 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 Nevada Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For license related queries, you can contact the DMV by email on email@example.com or call Central Services and Records Division on one of the following numbers:
Reno/Sparks/Carson City: (775) 684-4DMV (4368)
Las Vegas Area: (702) 486-4DMV (4368)
Rural Nevada: (877) 368-7828
Drivers can also renew their license by mail if they are temporarily out of state. Call (775) 684-4560 or (877) 368-7828 for instructions on renewal. Drivers can also renew their license on the renewal website which has clear instructions provided on how to renew the license. If you are 65 years of age or older, the renewal will cost you $16.25 in person and $14 if renewing by mail.
THE VISION TEST
Most senior drivers in Nevada 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 Nevada DMV's vision standard is 20/40 in at least one eye for an eye examination, and if you do not meet the standard you will be issued a Physical Evaluation Form which has a vision test section and referred to a licensed vision specialist. You need to make the visit to the vision specialist within 90 days of being referred. 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. He will also note if there is any progressive disease in your eyes. Bring the completed Physical Evaluation Form, completed by the vision specialist, back to your local DMV office.
- The vision specialist may prescribe eyeglasses or another type of vision correction. Since the Nevada Department 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 test results 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).
Drivers over 70 years of age are required to undergo a physical evaluation at the time of presenting for license renewal. However, if a physician suspects a driver to be unsafe, the same may be reported to the DMV.
Drivers who are hard of hearing may be required to have additional mirrors in their vehicles.
Drivers with seizure history or diabetes controlled by insulin will be issued a license with a colored background to draw attention to their medical condition.
Drivers who are considered unsafe can be reported to the DMV. The license status will then be re-looked into, and if needed, the license may be restricted or revoked.
Nevada DMV has a brochure aimed at elderly drivers, which can be obtained by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE DMV REEXAMINATION
A DMV 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 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 hearing 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.
- Some of the common restrictions that may be placed on your license include:
Restriction A: Use of corrective aides for improving vision
Restriction C: Additional rear-view mirrors
Restriction D: Driving in daylight only
Restriction M: Annual eye screening
Restriction N: Annual medical screening
Restriction X: Others (related to restricted geographical area of driving, etc.)