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Senior Drivers in Ohio

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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 Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.


Most Ohio drivers, at the time their current driver license expires, are generally required to renew their license in person at a local BMV office. Renewing by mail is an option only if you are military personnel or their dependents or are out of state for a long period of time. Contact BMV at (614) 752-7600 to ask for a renewal packet to be sent to you. You can complete the forms and get your license renewed. There is no age limit, after which the renewal frequency increases in Ohio. 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 Ohio Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal.


Most senior drivers in Ohio 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. The vision test consists of testing with respect to acuity and also horizontal fields. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to bring them with you to the BMV. 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 BMV.

The Ohio BMV's vision standard is acuity of 20/40 in each eye with or without correction and have a horizontal visual field of 70 in each eye. If you do not meet the standard, you will be referred to a licensed vision specialist. Please note the following if you are referred to a vision specialist.

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


Drivers who report of physical or medical disabilities will be required to complete a medical packet which needs to be completed and returned within 30 days to the BMV. Based on these results, your will be issued a restricted license, if deemed necessary The BMV may also require you to have period medical testing based on your physical health.

Ohio has Retirement Associations and church groups which can provide public transportation to drivers who are no longer able to drive on their own.


A BMV 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 BMV 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 BMV 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.


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.


Submitted by Rachel Hamilton on 29th Jun 2016

How do I request a senior

How do I request a senior driver with dementia to be re-evaluated?

Submitted by cosy on 2nd Mar 2015

My mom is going to be 91

My mom is going to be 91 years old in June of this year. What is required for her to renew her liscense? We really don't want her to drive but I need to know what BMV requires. Is it just a vision test?

Submitted by dwages (not verified) on 13th Apr 2012

Can the child be held

Can the child be held responsible if the elderly parent has an accident and hurt or kills someone?(if the child knows the elderly parent shouldn't be driving)

Submitted by concerned (not verified) on 24th Apr 2013

This is a great question.

This is a great question. I've called my BMV office today to ask if my mother can be tested now rather than waiting another 8 months before her license renewal arrives. The BMV supervisor told me her doctor would have to be consulted for any such intervention. Last month I showed the doctor pictures I took of her inability to simply park the car. One was 7' out to the street, two others were parked on the sidewalk, one of which had a ticket for same reason attached to the wiper blades. It happens frequently and even my son and daughter have made statements to her inability to drive well when they've been with her. I also showed the doctor a newspaper article from last March when an 84 year old woman from town who struck a utility worker and killed him, and that I felt this could easily happen with my mother and I simply wanted her tested to prove she has the ability to operate a car reasonably well (not just vision). The doctor asked when her renewal for driving was and I told him in 8 months. All he said was it's hard to give up the keys. So here I am knowing darn well people's lives are at great risk and workers within the institutions we go to for help are content with the bureaucracy that keeps real solutions from happening. Bottom line is people are satisfied with total apathy and hiding behind rules that require human thought and intervention for real solutions, but when payday comes they're more than happy to accept it while patting themselves on the back for a job well done. All I'm asking for is a driving test to verify her capability because there are major warning signs of imminent danger. There isn't enough collected shame in the world for these very kinds of people that willingly stand in the way of that.

Submitted by lucymckernan (not verified) on 5th Dec 2011

i want to know why an 87 year

i want to know why an 87 year old man in seven hills -- who was speeding and following too closely and plowed into my husban's car on dec. 1, 2011, is allowed to continue to drive??? may I request this be investigated? if so, by whom, the BMV? i want justice and I want this old guy OFF THE ROAD! Did i mention, he was speeding in a school zone??? the at-fault 87 year old driver's name is Peter Burlakov, 7119 Laura Lee Lane in Seven Hills, oH 44131; license plate number DIR 4007

Submitted by LegalBegal (not verified) on 28th Oct 2012

I understand your frustration

I understand your frustration and I actually wanted to lend some legal advice, being that I have worked cases like this, but your lack of respect for the elderly is disgusting, sad, and unfortunate. If the Lord is willing, you will be that age someday too.

Submitted by n.yotz (not verified) on 11th Nov 2011

My 86 yr old mother just

My 86 yr old mother just renewed her drivers license. They gave her take a vision test. The entire time the lady giving her the test had a look of "what is this lady looking at?" She rolled her eyes and shook her head NO the entire time she was testing her. My Mother had trouble through the entire test. All I could think of was PLEASE DO NOT PASS HER. My mother should NOT be driving. She has Parkinsons Dementa. Sometimes good days and Many VERY BAD days. She happened to have a good day when she took a driving test given by OSU, as recommended by her 1st neurologist, after he told her ABSOLUTELY NOT to drive. She fought it for months, until he told her to be evaluated. She was first evaluated by a physical therapist, whom my mother lied to about handling her own finances, which she does not. Then the driving instructor said she passed her driving test. 35 out of 40 points (again she was having a pretty good day). But he told her to drive in close, only familar places and hoped that she would have the good sense not to drive on bad days, and that the Doctor would have the final decision. And there lies the problem. She NEVER thinks she is having a bad day. She is not making good decisions, and has no reasoning skills and thinks she is just having some memory problems that old people do. Well, the Doctor(2nd neurologist). made the decision that she could drive. At that time, BOTH my sister and I pleaded with him not to let her drive. It did NO good! We asked the Dr if he would then be responsible for her or whomever she kills if he will be resposible for the deaths, he smiled and said, "No that would be the instructor as he said she passed". She has been driving non stop now for over a week.

So, she was given the vision test when she was renewing her drivers license. She absolutely had problems seeing everything on the screen. And to top it off, the lady at Dep. Reg. asked if she had any physical or mental difficulties. My mother looks at me for an answer, I said YES, she has Parkinsons Dementia! The lady looked at me, without saying a word, or even acknowledging my answer, then turned to my mother and again asked my mom the same question, my mother then said NO. (She also puts on a very good act and lies, which is a part of this disease). The lady then said "that will be $88.00" (license and plate renewal). How can an 86 year old, with Dementia, be told by 1 neurologist Absolutely NOT to drive, then by another neurologist after the testing that she could drive, pass a vision test that she was definately having trouble with while renewing her drivers license.......WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS THIS TO GET DANGEROUS DRIVES OFF THE ROAD??? I have done everything I can do to prevent bad things from happening as a result of her being allowed to drive. PLEASE tell me why this is happening. Does it all boil down to the almighty buck? $88.00 to the state is worth YOUR Mother, YOUR Father,YOUR child, wife, husband, unborn childs life????? Apparently so. THE LAWS NEED CHANGED! ANGRY??? YOU BET I AM I have given up my life for the last 8 months moving in with my parents, leaving my home and family to care for her and my father so that they won't drive(father was diagnosed with Dementia and his license was taken 2 yrs ago) trying to do what I can to help make her life better through all this, and to try to keep the drivers on the roads a little safer. I have a clear conscience, that I have tried everything known me and to my family to protect everyone involved. I am sorry for everyone that is sure to be involved when an accident does happen. God be with them all. I just do not understand.

Thank you for reading!

Submitted by jollyroger88805 (not verified) on 5th Mar 2013

Want her license revoked or

Want her license revoked or something else to keep her from driving? Contact the insurance company. They don't want to pay for any liability like you describe. If she can't get insurance she cn't drive.

Submitted by Saxon (not verified) on 11th Jun 2012

The same thing happened with

The same thing happened with my 80 year old mother last year. She is so blind she cannot see the big "E" on the eye chart! Nearly blind in her left eye with no peripheral vision, she actually had the headrest removed in her car so she can back up! How they passed her is a mystery to me, but the blood will be on the DMV's hands as far as I'm concerned.

Seniors think that driving is a right, not a privilege. Every driver should be given a drug and eye test (by a private, not government) agency held to high standards. That would settle it once and for all.

Submitted by Brenda Wildermuth (not verified) on 21st Nov 2011

I agree wholeheartedly. My

I agree wholeheartedly. My mother-in-law (God bless her), also did not know when to stop driving. I was visiting from Texas for a few days, and she wanted to go to lunch. She pulled onto the freeway at 20mph, ran 2 stop lights and 2 stop signs. I drove her back home. Her daughter and other son did more of the driving from then on. Unfortunately (for her, but fortunately for others), she stopped driving after a severe stroke. While I lived in Texas, in the 80's and 90's you could renew your license by mail. A dear friend aged 92 with Parkinson's was nearly blind, but continued to renew her license by mail (I didn't know she was doing this). Then, thankfully she lost her renewal package and wanted me to help her get another one. I refused. Some other friends and family took over driving her. I'm sure more than one life was saved.

I've asked my daughter to make sure that I'm stopped from driving if I don't have enough sense to stop myself. Everyone thinks they can still drive. It's like asking a drunk if he's drunk. Of course they don't think they're drunk.

I wish that we would insist on a test at a certain age. That's not to say that everyone who is elderly is unable to drive. I know many who are exceptional drivers. But then.... Do you want to be next to one or in front of one who is not?

One more thing -- Please can't we stop cell phone usage while driving? Or, at least use a bluetooth device. Remember a few years ago, when we didn't have cell phones. Gee, we actually had to wait til we got home to call our friends. And the world actually survived!