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 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

License Renewal For Senior Drivers

Pennsylvania drivers can renew their license either online or by mail for a period of 4 years. Drivers who are 65 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires can choose to renew it only for 2 years, which costs less than the 4-year renewal. For mail renewal, send the completed form for renewal along with the required fee to:

Bureau of Driver Licensing
P.O. Box 68272
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8272

If you did not receive the form or the renewal packet, you can download them online from PennDOT. Camera cards are valid for 60 days. Applicable fees include $19 for a 2-year license and $29.50 for a 4-year license.

The Vision Test

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a Mature Driver Examination Program. Each month, PennDOT will randomly choose 1650 drivers who are over the age of 45 before renewing their license. These drivers will be asked to undergo visual and medical testing before being issued a renewed license. Based on this Report of Eye Examination, the drivers may be required to pass a road test.

The Pennsylvania PennDOT’s vision standard is 20/40 in at least one eye with or without glasses. Visual acuity of 20/100 will fetch you a restricted license. PennDOT also allows you to use bioptic telescopes to improve vision during driving.

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 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will need to retest your vision, make sure to carry out the vision specialist’s recommendations before returning to the PennDOT.

When you return to PennDOT for another vision test, your Report of Vision Examination will be reviewed. If you pass the subsequent vision test, your driver license renewal will be granted (with a corrective lens restriction, if necessary.

Medical Examination

PennDOT has a Physician Reporting Fact Sheet that explains the responsibility of physicians in identifying unsafe drivers due to medical conditions. An Initial Reporting Form is available, which can be used to report conditions that may interfere with driving.

The reporting needs to be done within 10 days of diagnosing the condition. The report can be either faxed to (717) 705-4415 or mailed over to:

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 68682
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8682

Drivers with a seizure history should have been seizure-free for at least 6 months before returning to driving. There are no restrictions for the hearing impaired drivers.

If you are hearing impaired and require an interpreter during testing, you can let PennDOT know of the same by calling (800) 932-4600. You can also choose your preferred type of interpreter.

The PennDOT Reexamination

A PennDOT 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 PennDOT 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. Anyone wishing to report incompetent drivers can call (717) 787-9664 or write to:

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 68682
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8682

The reexamination involves the immediate evaluation of an individual by a PennDOT 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.

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.
Last updated on Thursday, March 7 2019.