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 Washington.

Licensing policies for older adults vary from state to state. In Washington, motorists are required to renew their driver’s licenses every five years (effective October 1, 2012, every 6 years). At every in-person renewal, motorists must pass a vision test. Up to age 70, a person may renew his or her license electronically or by mail every other renewal. The 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 Washington, 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 Washington Department of Licensing website to learn more about the process and possible outcomes. You will be required to provide your name and contact information.



Enroll in a AAA driver improvement class to learn defensive-driving techniques and get updates on state motor vehicle laws. The course focuses on traffic crash prevention and enhances driver safety and confidence. Washington and Idaho drivers ages 55 and older who complete the classroom program may qualify for auto insurance premium discounts. Learn more >>


Area Agencies on Aging develop and promote services and options to maximize independence, quality of life and choice for older people, adults with disabilities and family caregivers. Resources include assistance with transportation services for older adults. Learn more >>

Sound Generations, https://soundgenerations.org

An organization that promotes the emotional, social and physical well-being of older adults through a network of community connections and services.