A rapidly growing number of senior drivers on our nation's highways has prompted many states to develop special tools, programs and resources to assist older adults and their families to better manage safe driving.
Many states also have enacted driver's licensing laws with special provisions for older adults. Summarized below are programs and licensing laws that exist in the great state of Illinois.
Licensing policies for older adults vary from state to state. In Illinois, motorists are required to renew their driver’s licenses every four years. At every in-person renewal, a person must pass a vision test or submit test results from a vision specialist. Up to age 75, a person may renew electronically or by mail every other renewal. The renewal process for older adults requires the following:
- More frequent renewal. People ages 81 to 86 are required to renew their driver’s licenses every two years. People age 87 and older are required to renew their driver’s licenses every year.
- Road testing. People age 75 and older are required to take a road test.
- Limited renewal options. People age 75 and older must apply in person for every renewal.
Illinois is one of the few states that does not accept reports from concerned citizens on drivers thought to be unsafe. The state only accepts reports from law enforcement officers and physicians. If a state agency finds a complaint reasonable and credible, it may ask the reported driver to submit additional information, which could be used to help determine if a screening or assessment is justified.
Visit the Illinois Driver Services Department website or call (217) 782-6212 for more information on medical reporting in the state.
State-Specific Programs for Senior Drivers
MATURE DRIVER COURSE (ONLINE)
AAA’s Mature Operators Driver Improvement class is for drivers age 55 and older. The program provides tips and techniques to help experienced drivers compensate for changing vision, reflexes and response time. The course provides a quick refresher on defensive driving skills and new traffic laws, road markings and signs. Learn more >>
The CarFit program is designed to improve “fit” between mature drivers and their vehicles through actions they can take to enhance comfort and safety behind the wheel. CarFit offers specific, practical community resources to help older drivers maintain and strengthen their wellness to extend their safe, independent driving years. Learn more >>
ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS
Through the Illinois Rules of the Road Review Course, seniors can review the driving exam process and take an ungraded practice written exam. A mobile unit called Super Seniors combines the review course with on-site vision screening and license renewal. The schedule for both programs is available at the Secretary’s website or by calling (217) 782-8893. Learn more >>