While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.
Alaska 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, Alaska:
Renewal: Drivers age 69 and older must renew every five years in person.
Vision test: Required at in-person renewal, unless you can produce a certified statement from a licensed physician or optometrist stating that your vision meets or exceeds the department’s standards of 20/40 vision in each eye or with both eyes together.
Reexamination: If the DMV has good cause to believe that a licensed driver is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to be licensed, it may issue a written notice requiring him or her to submit to an examination within 10 days.
Road test: Required only if there are indications of driver impairment, based on a report by a law enforcement officer, a physician, or a family member.
Alaska does not impose conditions or restrictions specifically targeted to older drivers. However, the DMV may deny a license when, based upon medical evidence, it determines that because of physical or mental disability, a person is not able to drive safely.
The DMV may impose restrictions suitable to an individual’s driving ability with respect to special mechanical control devices required on a motor vehicle, along with other restrictions that it determines to be appropriate to assure the person can drive safely.
The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
In Alaska, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:
Drivers are encouraged to report medical conditions that cause loss of consciousness to the DMV. Law enforcement officers, other DMVs, family members, and anyone else with personal knowledge of the driver may also submit information about unsafe driving to the DMV. The source of the information is not kept confidential.
Complaints about unsafe drivers are handled slightly differently throughout the state. Those who wish to report an unsafe driver should contact a local DMV office or call 907-269-5551. The Department of Public Safety then reviews all information submitted and may re-examine the driver.
The Providence Hospital Therapy Unit in Anchorage offers driver rehabilitation services for Alaska residents who have had a serious illness or injury—including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and strokes—that may affect their driving abilities. For more information, call 907-212-6300 or go to the Providence Disabled Driver’s Program.
Disabled person parking placards can be issued to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, podiatrist, or chiropractor certifies the condition.
The placards and plates are also available for those who:
Steps required to obtain a disabled placard or plate are:
Alaska residents who are age 65 and older are entitled to register one vehicle exempt from registration fees and motor vehicle registration tax. This exemption applies only to passenger vehicles, motor homes, vans, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, and non-commercial trailers to which the resident holds title.
The DMV website contains a wealth of information for Alaska drivers, including links to webcams and current wait times for local DMV offices. Of special interest is the information on Mature Drivers: Cautions and Concerns.
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 Alaska.