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Mature Driver Safety: At What Age Do Seniors Have To Take A Driving Test?

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Updated May 5, 2021 – Every municipality across the globe has a different set of regulations as to when mature drivers have to take or re-take a driver’s test.

In this article you will find the driving regulations for elderly drivers in each state within the USA as well as some European countries.

Below is a chart with information taken from IIHS.org outlining at what age and in which state seniors are required to take a driving test.

State Driver License RenewalsEye Exam Or Proof Of Adequate VisionMail or Online
Renewal Permitted
ALEvery 4 yearsNoOnline – every other renewal
AKEvery 5 years69 and older, every renewal69 and older – not permitted
AZ65 and older – every 5 yearsEvery renewalNo
AR70 and older – every 4 – 8 yearsEvery other renewalNo
CAEvery 5 years70 and older, every renewal70 and older – not permitted
COEvery 5 yearsEvery renewal66 and older – every other renewal
CT65 and older – every 2 yearsNoNo
DCEvery 8 yearsEvery renewal70 and older – not permitted
DEEvery 8 yearsEvery renewalNo
FL80 and older – every 6 years80 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
GAEvery 8 yearsEvery renewal64 and older – not permitted
HI72 and older – every 2 yearsEvery renewalEvery 2 consecutive renewals but must appear at least every 16 years
IA72 and older – every 2 years70 and older, every renewal70 and older – not permitted
ID63 and older – every 4 yearsEvery renewal70 and older – not permitted
IL81 to 86 – every 2 years
87 and older – every year
75 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
IN75 to 84 – every 3 years
85 and older – every 2 years
75 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
KS65 and older – every 4 yearsEvery renewalNo
KYEvery 8 yearsNoNo
LAEvery 6 years70 and older, every renewal70 and older – not permitted
MAEvery 5 years75 and older, every renewal75 and older – not permitted
MDEvery 8 years40 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
ME65 and older – every 4 years62 and older, every renewal62 and older – not permitted
MIEvery 4 yearsWhen renewing in personEvery other renewal
MNEvery 4 yearsEvery renewalNo
MO
70 and older – every 3 yearsEvery renewalNo
MSEvery 4 to 8 yearsNoEvery other renewal
MT75 and older – every 4 yearsEvery renewalEvery other renewal
NC66 and older – every 5 yearsEvery renewalEvery other renewal
ND78 and older – every 4 yearsEvery renewal65 and older – not permitted
NEEvery 5 years72 and older, every renewal72 and older – not permitted
NHEvery 5 yearsEvery renewalEvery other renewal
NJ70 and older – every 2 to 4 yearsEvery 10 yearsBy mail only unless new photo is required
NM71 to 78 – every 4 years
79 and older – every year
75 and older, every renewal75 and older – not permitted
NV65 and older – every 4 years71 and older, every renewal65 and older – every other renewal
NYEvery 8 yearsEvery renewalNo restrictions
OHEvery 4 yearsEvery renewalNo
OKEvery 4 yearsNoNo
OREvery 8 years50 and older, every renewalNo
PA65 and older – every 2 to 4 yearsNoNo restrictions
RI75 and older – every 2 yearsEvery renewalEvery other renewal
SCEvery 8 yearsEvery renewalNo restrictions
SDEvery 5 years65 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
TNEvery 8 yearsNoNo restrictions
TX85 and older – every 2 years79 and older, every renewal79 and older – not permitted
UTEvery 8 years65 and older, every renewalEvery other renewal
VA75 and older – every 5 years75 and older, every renewal75 and older – not permitted
VTEvery 2 to 4 yearsNoBy mail only unless new photo is required
WAEvery 6 yearsEvery renewal70 and older – not permitted
WIEvery 8 yearsEvery renewalNo
WVEvery 8 yearsEvery renewalOnline – every other renewal
WYEvery 5 yearsEvery 10 yearsBy mail – every other renewal

What Is The Maximum Driving Age By State?

I was really surprised to find out that there is NO maximum driving age for senior citizens in any of the 50 Untied States (or it’s territories)!

Given the dangers that an unsafe driver can pose, I would have thought each state would dictate at what ages older drivers should stop driving. After all, it seems to make sense that everyone’s driving skills should be tested often to ensure not only their safety but the safety of others on the road.

In 2019, a total of 5,195 people 70 and older were killed in a motor vehicle crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

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Keep in mind, though, some states are more restrictive on their older drivers. These states we list below at least require a senior to pass an eye exam in order to renew their driver’s license!

For example, Illinois requires a road test and in-person renewal for drivers 75 years of age and older. Additionally, Illinois drivers who are 87 years of age and over must renew their driver’s license annually.

What States Require Elderly Drivers To Retest?

It might help senior drivers and family members to know what states retest elderly drivers. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the states that test senior drivers in some manner are:

  • AZ, CO, FL, GA, ME, MD, OR, SC, UT, VA – a vision test is required for license renewal
  • Washington, DC – requires a vision test for license renewals. In some cases, an older person may also be required to complete a reaction assessment in the District of Columbia.
  • IL, NH – require a road test for license renewal

Driving Test Rules For Seniors Around The World

Other countries test their seniors to assess if they have a medical problem, vision problems and any physical impairments that may keep them from being safe drivers.

Australia – Beginning at age 75, drivers must pass a medical examination in order to continue driving.

Britain – Beginning at age 70, drivers must re-apply for a drivers license (and every 3 years onward). No other requirements are necessary.

Canada – In some parts of Canada, drivers age 75 must pass a medical exam. Again at age 80 and then every 2 years.  Other parts of Canada require re-testing at age 80.

Denmark – Beginning at age 70, drivers licenses are renewed for 3 years and then every 2 years and then 1 year at age 80 plus.

Ireland – Any driver over the age of 70 must pass a medical examination every 3 years.

Italy – Beginning at age 70, drivers can renew their licenses every 3 years.

New Zealand – At age 75, drivers can renew their licenses for 5 years and at age 80 every 2 years.

The European countries that do not require any renewal procedure are Belgium, France and Sweden.

Do Seniors Have More Fatal Accidents Than Younger Drivers?

It would seem logical that age groups of older drivers would be at a higher risk have more problems with their driving ability and end up causing more fatal auto accidents than younger age groups – but the truth is actually a bit more complicated.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control

“Older drivers, particularly those aged 75+, have higher crash death rates than middle-aged drivers (aged 35-54). Higher crash death rates among this age group are primarily due to increased vulnerability to injury in a crash.”

Generally speaking older adult drivers have safer driving behaviors such as wearing seat belts, driving during the day and avoiding night time driving, etc.

But the CDC also states that…

“The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16–19 than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times as likely as drivers aged 20 or older to be in a fatal crash.”

The bottom line is that…

  • teenagers aged 16 – 19 have the highest number of auto crashes
  • adults aged 75 and older have the 2nd highest number of crashes
  • middle aged drivers have the lowest number of auto crashes

Even though older people are not the ones involved in the majority of fatal crashes, they are the highest demographic to die from a crash. This is mostly due to the fact that as people age they become more frail and are likely in poor physical condition.

At What Age Should An Elderly Person Stop Driving?

There is no set age when older adults should stop driving. The law basically says that specific “medical conditions” are the only reason(s) that can keep people from being able to drive a vehicle but there isn’t an official minimum or maximum number of years someone can be allowed behind the wheel so it really varies case by case.

It’s important for licensed drivers of all ages to be aware of a possible medical condition or impairment that could cause issues while behind the wheel.

Everyone has different health conditions and medical histories and may experience certain symptoms differently as time goes by. This includes physical limitations in coordination, vision problems (which often get worse), reduced reaction time, having trouble concentrating or remembering things properly (like names).

What Can You Do If You Know or Suspect Your Elderly Parent Is An Unsafe Driver?

You know or suspect that your elderly parent is an unsafe driver. You may have had a near miss or even been in an accident with them, but you’re not sure what to do about it. There are some things you can try to do to help them understand that it’s time for them to give up their driving privileges.

  • Have the discussion with them – it’s not going to be an easy talk and you will probably get a lot of resistance but it’s important to open the door and express your concerns. Try to avoid getting emotional and just stick to the facts.
  • Ask their doctor to help – our older parents often will listen to medical professionals before they listen to us so ask their doctor to discuss the issues with them.
  • A little white lie may be needed – if your elderly loved one is suffering from mild dementia you may be able to use that to your advantage. A little therapeutic fibbing like saying the car is in the shop, hiding the keys, etc. may keep them from driving.
  • You can report an unsafe driver to the DMV – the Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for handling complaints of an unsafe driver. They will investigate that person’s driving record, do a vision exam and also give them a written test.

When it comes to driving, we all know that as you get older some things can be more difficult. Things like getting in and out of a vehicle or maneuvering may become harder for us later on because our bodies change with age.

It’s a good idea to start thinking about your driving skills is before it’s too late. Taking a driver safety course can be the perfect way to do this because not only will you get insurance discounts, but if something were ever to happen and that mom or grandma couldn’t drive anymore they would have all of these new skills on hand! You never know when an accident could strike so don’t wait any longer – take action now while you still can.

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