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 South Carolina 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

South Carolina drivers who are 65 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 DMV office or by mail also. The license validity will only be for 5 years; you cannot renew for 10 years which is possible if you are younger than 65.

Alternate renewals have to be done in person at the DMV office. For renewing by mail, complete the Form DL-63 which includes a vision screening by a vision specialist and mail it along with the renewal fee of #12.50 to:

SC Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0035

For an in-person renewal, in addition to taking a vision test (see below), you may be asked to take a written knowledge if you have accumulated more than 5 points on your driving record. Written and driving tests have to be passed if the license expired more than 9 months ago.

In preparation for this, you can review the South Carolina Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. For license-related queries, you can call the DMV at (803) 896-5000.

The Vision Test

Senior drivers in South Carolina 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 South Carolina DMV’s vision standard is 20/40 or better in each eye with or without correction, a horizontal visual field of 70 degrees in each eye and ability to distinguish the traffic signal colors. If you do not meet the standard you will be issued a Report of Eye Examination. Take this form to a licensed vision specialist of your choice. SC DMV does not recommend you which vision specialist you should visit. The completed Report of Eye Examination is to be sent to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Improvement Office
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0016
  • If you are renewing your license by mail, send the same to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Improvement Office
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0030

When you return to the DMV for another vision test, your vision report 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).

Medical Examination

At the time of applying for a license, you will be asked to fill in details about your medical health. The DMV will review this and decide if restrictions need to be placed on your license.
If you have a seizure history, you should be seizure-free for at least 6 months before resuming driving. You may also be asked to undergo periodic checkups and submit reports of the same.
Hearing impaired drivers need to have additional mirrors fixed to the vehicle.

Only doctors, court and/or law enforcement officials can report unsafe drivers to the DMV.
The section “Driving Tips for Senior Citizens” in Chapter 2 of the Driver License Manual gives a correlation between aging and driving.

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 Driver Safety 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 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.