Senior Drivers in Utah
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 Utah Division 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
Utah 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. Alternate renewal can be done by email or online using the Renewal Express. In addition to taking a vision test every time you renew after 5 years (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 Utah Drivers Handbook and take practice tests before going for your license renewal. All Utah DMV offices are open Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are closed on Fridays, even for calls and emails. For queries, you can write an email to email@example.com or call Salt Lake Area at (801) 297-7780 or the toll-free number (800) 368-8824.
The Vision Test
Most senior drivers in Utah 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 Utah DMV’s vision standard is at least 20/40 and a side vision of 90 degrees. If you do not meet the standard, you will be issued a Vision Statement and referred to a licensed vision specialist. 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. Bring the Report of Vision Examination, 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 Utah Division of Motor Vehicles will need to retest your vision, make sure to carry out the vision specialist’s recommendations before returning to the DMV. For more details, contact the Driver Licensing Division of the DMV on (801) 965-4437.
When you return to the DMV for another vision test, your Report of Vision Examination 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).
When testing or renewing license any medical condition that might interfere with driving must be reported to the DMV. If required, a medical evaluation will be performed and a decision whether to renew the license and if restrictions are required will be decided by the DMV.
Utah has information on how medical considerations can affect driving and has set Medical Standards to be reviewed when issuing a license. Utah has listed 12 medical categories that might place a restriction on your license.
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. Drivers felt to be incompetent may be reported to the DMV via the Driver Re-examination Request Form. The driver may then be asked to submit a Functional Ability Medical Review before resuming driving. 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 authorized 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.
- Utah has identified 12 medical categories, and if you have one of those, you could have a restriction on your license.