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 Virginia.

Licensing policies for older adults vary from state to state. In Virginia, motorists are required to renew their driver’s licenses every eight years. At every in-person renewal, motorists must pass a vision test. Up to age 80 (75, effective January 1, 2015), a person may renew electronically or by mail. The renewal process for older adults includes the following condition:

  • Limited renewal options. People age 80 (75, effective January 1, 2015) and older must apply in person for every renewal.
  • More frequent renewal. Effective January 1, 2015, people age 75 and older are required to renew their driver’s licenses every five years.

Almost every state, including Virginia, 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 Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website or call (804) 367-6203 to learn more about the process and possible outcomes. You will be required to provide your name and contact information.