Florida leads the nation with more than 18% of the population 65 years and older. While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.
Florida 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, Florida:
- requires drivers age 80 and older to renew their licenses every six years; those 79 and younger can receive eight-year licenses, and
- accepts requests from family members and others for the DHSMV to conduct unsafe driver investigations.
License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers
Special rules apply to drivers who are 80 and older who seek to renew their licenses.
Time limits: Drivers age 80 and older must renew every six years.
Vision test: Required at renewal. DHSMV personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by a medical doctor, osteopathic physician or optometrist licensed in Florida, who must complete a Mature Driver Vision Test form and conduct the exam within one year of the renewal request.
Possible License Restrictions
The DHSMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver license after administering a driving test and discussing possible restrictions with him or her.
The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
In Florida, other common requirements the DHSMV may impose on older drivers include:
- an additional left side rearview mirror on a vehicle
- no nighttime driving
- vehicle must have automatic transmission
- vehicle must have power steering
- vehicle must have mechanical directional signals
- steering wheel must have a knob or grip
- hearing aid must be worn while driving
- seat cushions in car, and
- hand controls or pedal extensions on vehicle.
How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Florida
The Florida DHSMV will accept information from any doctor, person, or agency representative who knows of a physical or mental condition that may affect an individual’s ability to drive safely. While those completing such reports must include a name, address, and telephone number, all reports are kept confidential. Department investigators may interview family members, neighbors, or the driver’s doctor and may also require medical tests or written or road retests.
Reports should be made by completing a Medical Reporting Form.
Florida Driver Improvement Programs
Drivers can improve their skills by taking an education and training class specifically developed for older drivers. Local course offerings called Mature Driver Courses may also help some older drivers qualify for reductions in auto insurance costs.
How to Get a License Reinstated
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Florida, get in touch with the local:
- Bureau of Administrative Reviews office
- driver license office
- tax collector licensing agent, or
- the DHSMV’s Customer Service Center.
Contact information for all of these is listed on the DHSMV website.
The Florida DHSMV operates an ombudsman program in which advocates can intervene to help solve consumer problems. Email the ombudsman a completed Consumer Advocate Form at the website's email portal.
How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver
Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to drivers who have impaired mobility if a licensed physician, chiropractor, surgeon, optometrist or advanced nurse practitioner certifies the condition.
The placards and plates are also available for those who have:
- a severe heart condition
- severe lung disease
- inability or severe limitation in walking
- a condition requiring them to use portable oxygen, or
- legal blindness diagnosed by an optometrist.
To obtain a disabled placard or plate:
- Complete and sign an Application by Disabled Person.
- Have a licensed physician, chiropractor, surgeon, optometrist, or advanced nurse practitioner sign and complete the certification portion of the form. Include a fee of $15 for a temporary parking placard; permanent plates and placards are free.
- Mail the original application to the address on the form.
Learn More About Florida Driving Rules for Seniors
The DHSMV website has a wealth of information for Florida drivers, including links to highway statistics and required forms. Of special interest is the Florida Driver’s Handbook, which includes comprehensive information about licensing, rules of the road, driving safety and specialized driving schools.