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 California.

Licensing policies for older adults vary from state to state. In California, motorists are required to renew their driver’s licenses every five years. At every in-person renewal, a person must pass a vision test. Until age 70, only two successive renewals may be made by mail if a person does not wish to visit the California driver’s license office. However, the licensing renewal process for older adults includes the following condition:


  • Limited renewal options. People age 70 and older must apply in person for every renewal.

Almost every state, including California, has a process for reporting a potentially unsafe driver to its licensing office or department of motor vehicles. Law enforcement officers and physicians represent the majority of individuals submitting reports, although concerned citizens also can do so. 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 California Department of Motor Vehicles website to learn more about the process and possible outcomes. You will be required to provide your name and contact information.

California DMV contact information.




The California Department of Motor Vehicles has created a Senior Ombudsman Program designed to help keep older drivers on the road as long as safely possible. The program has four statewide ombudsmen who can help older drivers with specific concerns about driving. The program is designed to ensure that senior drivers are treated in a fair and consistent manner regarding licensing laws and regulations. Learn more >>


Driving specialists and occupational therapists specialize in driver rehabilitation and can help identify a driver’s visual, physical and cognitive health, and they can make recommendations to limit risks. Find a driving specialist in your area. Learn more >>


The Beverly Foundation offers information on a number of supplemental transportation programs for older drivers in California, including resources on volunteer driver programs and information on senior-related transportation options. Learn more >>