Maryland Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

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Most of the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and outlined below apply to drivers of all ages and stages, but some special requirements and restrictions are imposed on older drivers.

Notably, drivers age 40 and older must complete a vision test every time they renew their licenses.

Also, first-time applicants for an license who are age 70 and older must provide proof of previous satisfactory operation of a vehicle or physician's certificate of fitness. See “How to apply for a Maryland driver’s license” for information specific to your situation.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

Special rules apply to drivers who are 40 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits: Unless they receive a different notification from the MVA, drivers age 40 and older must renew every five years.

Vision test: Required at renewal for all drivers age 40 and older. MVA personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Screening Form and conduct the exam within 12 months of the renewal request. Drivers may also have the test performed by providers listed on the MVA Online Vision Certification Service, who are approved to submit test results electronically.

Written test: May be required at renewal if the MVA finds indications of driver impairment.

Road test: Required only if the MVA finds indications of driver impairment.

Possible License Restrictions

The MVA 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 Maryland, other common requirements the MVA may impose on older drivers include:

  • no freeway driving
  • an additional right side mirror on a vehicle
  • no nighttime driving
  • time of day restrictions—for example, no driving during rush hour traffic
  • supports to ensure a proper driving position
  • geographic area restrictions, and
  • wearing bioptic telescopic lens when driving.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Maryland

Procedures for reporting an unsafe driver vary throughout Maryland. For specifics, contact the local MVA office.

How to Get a License Reinstated

Call the MVA’s Driver Wellness and Safety Division at 410-768-7000 or 301-729-4563 (TTY) or visit the office at 6601 Ritchie Highway in Glen Bernie and request to have the driver's license reinstated. You will be asked for your full name, address, date of birth and driver’s license number.

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, nurse practitioner, chiropractor or podiatrist certifies the condition.

The placards and plates are also available for those who:

  • have severe lung disease
  • have severe cardiovascular disease
  • are unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • are unable to walk 200 feet without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device or other assistance device
  • require wheelchairs for mobility
  • have lost an arm, hand, foot or leg
  • have lost the use of an arm, hand, foot or leg
  • have a permanent disability so severe that they would endure a hardship or risk injury if denied a disability plate or placard, or
  • have a permanent severe impairment to both eyes.

Steps required to obtain a disabled placard or plate are:

Learn More About Maryland Driving Rules for Seniors

The MVA website has a wealth of information for Maryland drivers, including links to the controlling laws and driver license handbooks in several different languages.

Of special interest is the downloadable “Maryland Driver’s Manual,” which includes information about licensing drivers and registering vehicles, along with a description of local rules of the road.

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 Maryland.

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