Hawaii Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

Updated by , Attorney

In Hawaii, depending on the county, driving laws are enforced by the:

While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the various Hawaii driving authorities apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.

Hawaii state rules are explained in more detail below, but a couple of them focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe.

Specifically, Hawaii:

  • requires drivers age 72 and older to renew their licenses every two years, and
  • allows driving authorities to restrict licenses in the interest of keeping drivers and roadways safe.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

All those who wish to renew their licenses must complete a Driver's License Application. Special rules apply to drivers who are 72 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits: Drivers age 72 and older must renew every two years. Drivers 21 to 71 must renew every six years and those under 21 can be issued a license that is valid for four years.

Vision test: Required on renewal.

Written test: May be required in the discretion of the licensing authorities.

Road test: May be required in the discretion of the licensing authorities.

Possible License Restrictions

Driving authorities can place restrictions or conditions on a person's driver's license aimed at keeping both the driver and the roadways safe. The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.

In Hawaii, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers and their vehicles include:

  • vehicles equipped with outside mirrors
  • driving only vehicles with automatic transmissions
  • driving only vehicles with power steering
  • no nighttime driving
  • vehicles with full hand equipment
  • vehicles equipped with mechanical signals
  • vehicles equipped with a steering knob
  • wearing hearing aids while driving, and
  • wearing prosthetic aids while driving.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Hawaii

Unlike most states, Hawaii does not have a set procedure for family members, friends, and other concerned individuals to report that a driver may have become unsafe behind the wheel. Driving authorities are authorized to request medical exams of drivers who may have become unsafe behind the wheel; medical practitioners are required to record their results on a Medical Report Form.

For more information, contact the licensing authority in your county.

How to Get Parking Placards or Plates for a Driver with a Disability

Disabled person parking placards and plates, administered by the Hawaii Office of Aging, can be issued to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed medical practitioner certifies the condition.

The placards and plates are available for those who:

  • are unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest due to an arthritic, neurologic, orthopedic, oncologic, renal, or vascular condition
  • have a severe respiratory disability
  • have a severe heart condition
  • are unable to walk without the use of an assistive device or help from another person, or
  • use portable oxygen.

To obtain a disabled placard or plate, you must:

Learn More About Hawaii Driving Rules

Of special interest to Hawaii drivers is the "Driver's Manual," which includes information about licensing drivers, registering vehicles, rules of the road, and a brief section on particular challenges older drivers may face.

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 Hawaii.

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