Driving a car is both a pastime and a sign of self-determination for many people, and there are plenty of people over 80 years of age who feel both able and eager to keep driving. For those people, we'll provide a quick informational guideline for driver's license renewal.

Vision Test for Senior Citizen License Renewals

Being 80 years of age or older by the time your driver's license expires means that before renewing your driver's license, a vision test must be cleared. This is a basic vision test made to ensure the driver's ability to drive safely. It is always recommended that before visiting the department, the driver makes a visit to his or her vision specialist if s/he has not done so recently.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has set the vision standard at 20/50 and a minimum vision field of 130 degrees. If the driver's vision results are worse than that, a consult with a vision specialist will be referred to in hopes of finding ways through which it can be improved. There are certain considerations that take place in this case:

First off, when failing to meet the minimum vision required, a vision specialist must complete a Mature Vision Examination Form after a consult.

Secondly, this vision specialist must be a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist able to perform a full vision exam and thus determine if your eyesight will permit you to drive safely.

Third, you must bring the Report of Eye Examination, completed by the vision specialist, to the local DHSMV office. These results can be submitted online on the DHSMV website.

Lastly, the vision specialist might end up prescribing eyeglasses or another method of vision correction, so be sure to carry out the specialist's recommendations afterward since the DHSMV will be required to re-test your vision.

After this, you can return to the DHSMV for another test, which will then result in a review of your vision report. After passing the test, your driver license renewal will be granted. In some cases, there may be a corrective lens restriction for the license.

Driver Reexamination

Sometimes, there are other factors that may influence or impede a senior citizen's ability to drive a vehicle, whether they be physical, mental, or related to his or her driving record. In these cases, medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and family members may place a medical reporting form that recommends the DHSMV to proceed with the reexamination. In some cases, this process may be caused by certain information placed on your license renewal application.

The process itself involves an immediate evaluation through an interview and the possibility of vision, written and driving tests carried out by an officer authorized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Many choose to enroll in driver educational programs for senior citizens beforehand in order to go improve their skills and knowledge before being evaluated.

After the reexamination is completed, a hearing officer will decide if anything should be done about your driving privileges. Some possible outcomes are driving probation, restrictions, suspension, or revocation.

Because of this, it is important to think about one's driving skills at an advanced age and determine when it is time to rescind your license and avoid any future misunderstandings or complications.

License Restrictions

Deteriorated vision is the most common condition that could mitigate an older citizen's ability to drive. Other such impairments are related to memory, coordination, and flexibility issues that impede someone from performing properly and safely on the road.

However, whatever the physical or mental condition that causes this, sometimes senior drivers have restrictions placed on their license. These vary depending on what the tests and assessments may determine since the restrictions are there to make sure that you drive safely within your capabilities. The most common restrictions placed are the following:

- Requiring eyeglasses, corrective contact lenses or another type of eyewear when driving,

- Driving only during daylight or not driving during rush hour,

- Restricted driving to a certain area or through freeways,

- Requiring mechanical devices or additional mirrors on the vehicle,

- Requiring a special supporting piece that could ensure a safe and correct driving posture,

- Requiring attention and care for certain medical conditions stated on the license.

Things to Consider

Aside from common health issues, senior drivers find themselves facing the same problems that younger people face when behind the wheel. However, age can be a factor that heightens these problems. Driving under the influence, anger issues, and other problems can be exacerbated because of age, but sometimes pride can get in the way of the most humble and respected elder.

The State of Florida has taken many considerations to ensure the continued driving abilities of senior citizens. However, there comes a time for all when we must be open to these measures, whatever they may be. Being a responsible diver not only means knowing how to drive, it also means that we should all eventually accept certain realities and restrictions that make us human and fallible people.

That said, we hope you can all drive safely for many years to come!

If you need help renewing your registration, or other matters at the Florida DMV, contact Auto Tags of Florida. We may be able to help.