Unlike most states, Alabama does not impose conditions or restrictions specifically targeted to older drivers. The myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) simply apply to drivers of all ages and stages.
However, state licensing authorities can act if:
License renewal rules apply to all Alabama drivers.
Time limits: Drivers must renew every four years in person at a local probate judge's office.
Online renewal: Drivers can use Alabama's interactive system to renew their driver's licenses once every eight years. However, this process cannot be used if
Vision test: Required at in-person renewal only if licensing authorities believe a physical or mental condition or limitation may affect the ability to drive safely.
Written test: Required at in-person renewal only if licensing authorities believe a physical or mental condition or limitation may affect the ability to drive safely.
Road test: Required at in-person renewal only if licensing authorities believe a physical or mental condition or limitation may affect the ability to drive safely.
The Director of Public Safety can require a person who appears to have some physical or mental impairment which might affect driving to furnish a statement from a doctor showing medical history and present condition potentially affecting driving ability.
He or she may also be required to appear before a driver license examiner to prove the ability to drive safely. Those who fail to report for such a driver test or to submit any required medical statements may have their licenses revoked.
A person who has a physical or mental impairment that the Director of Public Safety or examining officer decides will prevent him or her from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over a motor vehicle may be denied a license or may be issued a license that contains specific restrictions.
The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
Other common restrictions include:
The Alabama driver licensing authorities can act only on a written request from a licensed doctor that a driver should be retested or that his or her license be revoked because of physical or mental limitations that might make the driver unsafe. Such written requests should contain the patient's name and license number and be mailed to:
Alabama Department of Public Safety
301 South Ripley Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
A doctor who determines that a patient has a chronic illness or physical impairment has the responsibility to inform that patient of any driving limitation that may be appropriate.
A driver who wishes to have a license reinstated should print and complete a Request for Reinstatement Requirements and mail it to the address on that form.
If the department refuses to issue a permit or license or arbitrarily questions a person's abilities based on physical appearance or speculated inability to operate a vehicle safely, the person has a right to an impartial hearing before the Director of Public Safety. At the hearing, the person shall have the right to be represented by counsel and to present witnesses including a physician of choice.
Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed physician certifies the condition.
The placards and plates are available for those who:
Steps required to obtain a disabled placard or plate are:
The Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) contains some basic information for Alabama drivers. Of special interest is the downloadable manual, Alabama Driver, which describes licensing requirements and rules of the road.
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 Alabama.
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