Arizona Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

Learn about driving provisions and special programs focused on keeping both Arizona's older drivers and roadways safe.

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While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.

Arizona state rules are explained in more detail below, but a number of them focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe. Specifically, Arizona:

  • requires drivers age 65 and older to renew their licenses in person
  • requires a vision test for drivers age 65 and older renewing in person, and
  • accepts requests to conduct an unsafe driver investigation from law enforcement, medical personnel and other concerned citizens.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

Special rules apply to drivers who are 65 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits: Drivers age 65 and older must renew in person every five years; those younger than 65 need to renew every 12 years.

New photos: Identifying photographs, taken at the driver license facility, must be updated every 12 years.

Vision test: Required at in-person renewal. DOT personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Examination Report and conduct the exam within three months of the renewal request.

Road test: Required only if there are indications of driver impairment based on a report by the driver, a law enforcement officer, a physician, insurance agent, or other concerned individual.

Possible License Restrictions

The DOT can place restrictions on a person’s driver license. The most common restriction for older drivers in Arizona is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses and a daylight-only driving times.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Arizona

Drivers who have medical conditions that may affect their abilities to drive safely must notify the Medical Review Program by email through the Department of Transportation website or by mail at:

Mail Drop 818Z

Motor Vehicle Division

Post Office Box 2100

Phoenix, AZ 85001-2100

The Arizona DOT also accepts complaints and concerns about individual driver’s abilities to drive safely—most often from law enforcement, medical practitioners, and other concerned citizens. The source of all complaints is kept confidential. To investigate, the agency deals only with the driver; individuals who filed complaints are not informed of the outcome.

Law enforcement: A law enforcement officer who stops a driver but does not issue a ticket may still request that the driver should be reviewed by the Medical Review Program. A law enforcement officer may report a driver by completing a Re-Examination Request form. DOT agents may also use this form to submit observations to the Medical Review Program urging that a driver should be re-examined.

Medical personnel: A doctor, registered nurse practitioner, or psychologist may voluntarily report a patient to the DOT who has a medical or psychological condition that could significantly impair the person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

The information must be in writing and include the name, address, and birth date of the patient. Medical professionals who submit such reports in good faith are immune from civil or criminal liability for making them.

Concerned citizens: Anyone who has direct knowledge of a driver’s physical, mental, or emotional condition that may affect the ability to operate a vehicle safely can report it to the DOT by filing a Driver Condition/Behavior Report.

How to Get a License Reinstated

Procedures for reinstating a license differ depending on why the license was suspended or revoked. A person who wishes to reinstate a license must call the local DOT office for specific information.

How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver

Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed physician (including doctors of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry or chiropractic), registered nurse practitioner or hospital administrator certifies the condition.

The placards and plates are also available for those who:

  • cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device
  • are severely restricted by lung disease
  • use portable oxygen
  • have a severe cardiac condition, or
  • are severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

Steps required to obtain a disabled placard or plate are:

  • Complete and sign a Disability-Hearing Impaired Plate/Placard Application.
  • Have a licensed a licensed physician—including doctors of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry or chiropractic), registered nurse practitioner, or hospital administrator complete the Medical Certification portion of the application.
  • Mail the original application to the address on the form.

Learn More About Arizona Driving Rules for Seniors

The DOT website has a wealth of information for Arizona drivers, including links to local offices with current updated wait times, as well as a comprehensive Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service Guide in both English and Spanish.

Where to Find a Lawyer for Help

You can use Nolo’s Lawyer Directory to find a local lawyer experienced in representing older people who need help with auto accidents or traffic tickets in Arizona.

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