There are more than 1 million drivers over the age of 65 in Georgia; more than 620,000 are 70 or older. While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.
Georgia 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, Georgia:
- requires drivers age 60 and older to renew their licenses in person every five years
- requires drivers 64 and older to take a vision test when renewing their licenses, and
- accepts requests from doctors, family members and others for the DDS to conduct unsafe driver investigations.
License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers
Renewal: Drivers age 60 and older must renew every five years; younger drivers have the option of renewing every eight years.
Vision test: Required for drivers age 64 and older. Applicants who are unable to pass the test administered at the DDS will be directed to be examined by a licensed optometrist or opthalmologist, who must complete a Vision Report and submit it to the DDS.
Written test: May be required if there are indications of driver impairment.
Road test: Required only if there are indications of driver impairment.
Possible License Restrictions
The DDS 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 Georgia, other common requirements the DDS may impose on older drivers include:
- no expressway driving
- additional outside mirrors on a vehicle
- driving only during daylight
- no passengers allowed in the vehicle
- wearing bioptic lenses when driving
- wearing a hearing aid when driving, and
- driving only vehicles with automatic transmissions, power steering or power brakes.
How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Georgia
The Georgia DDS will accept requests to evaluate drivers from relatives, law enforcement officers, physicians, caregivers, vision specialists and others with personal knowledge that an individual may be medically or mentally unfit to drive.
Those demanding an evaluation must complete a form, Request for Driver Review and mail it to:
Georgia Department of Driver Services
Medical Revocation Unit
P.O. Box 80447
Conyers, GA 30013
Anonymous reports are not accepted. However, anyone filing a request can ask that his or her name be kept confidential, and the DDS vows to honor that confidentiality “to the fullest extent possible.”
Reporting Requirements for Doctors
Doctors who diagnose conditions hazardous to driving or any handicap that would render a patient incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle are encouraged to report that diagnose to the DDS.
Georgia Driver Improvement Programs
Drivers can improve their skills by taking an education and training class specifically developed for older drivers; check the local certified driver improvement schools.
In addition, the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute maintains a CarFit program, which offers older drivers tips and instruction on fitting their vehicles to adapt to changing needs as they age.
How to Get a License Reinstated
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Georgia, contact one of the DDS Customer Service Centers that deal with license resinstatements.
How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver
The Georgia Department of Revenue can issue disabled person parking placards and license plates to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed physician certifies the condition.
The placards and plates are available for those who are:
- severely hearing impaired
- unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
- unable to walk without a brace, a cane, a crutch, another person, a prosthetic device, a wheelchair or other assistive device
- severely restricted by lung disease
- using portable oxygen
- afflicted with a severe cardiac condition
- legally blind, or
- severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition or complications due to pregnancy.
Steps required to obtain a disabled placard or plate are:
- Complete and sign a Disabled Person’s Parking Affidavit.
- Have a licensed physician—which includes licensed doctors of medicine and osteopathic medicine, podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors—complete Section Four of the form; the physician’s signature must be notarized.
- Take or mail the original application to the local Tax Commisssioner’s Tag Office.
Learn More About Georgia Driving Rules for Seniors
The DDS website has a wealth of information for Georgia drivers, including links to the controlling laws and driver license handbooks in several different languages.
Of special interest is the Senior Driver page, which includes information on aging and driver safety, along with links to local resources for older drivers.