The myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages—and the state claims to impose no special requirements on drivers based solely on age.
However, a couple of the Massachusetts rules seem to focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe behind the wheel.
Special rules apply to drivers who are 75 and older who seek to renew their licenses.
Time limits: Drivers age 75 and older must renew in person every five years.
Vision test: Required at in-person renewal. RMV personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Class D and M Vision Screening Certificate and conduct the exam within one year of the renewal request.
Written test: May be required if there are indications of driver impairment.
Road test: May be required if there are indications of driver impairment.
The RMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver's 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 Massachusetts, other common requirements the RMV may impose on older drivers include:
The Massachusetts RMV will accept information from any person with information about a driver’s potentially unsafe driving. Anonymity is not guaranteed. Concerns should be reported in writing on a Request for Medical Evaluation Form and faxed or mailed to the Medical Affairs office as directed on the form.
The Massachusetts RMV offers free, hour-long presentations for older drivers, their family members, caregivers, and relevant organizations focusing on safe driving for seniors and the ins and outs of getting disability plates and placards in the state. To attend a presentation, complete a request form and mail or email it as directed.
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Massachusetts, see “Suspensions & Hearings: Discretionary/Public Safety Suspensions.”
Disability parking placards and license plates 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:
The RMV website contains a wealth of information for Massachusetts drivers, including explanations of licensing drivers and registering vehicles.
Of particular interest is the downloadable “Driver’s Manual” in English or Spanish, which contains safety tips and explanations of local rules of the road. The RMV also maintains a page on its web site dedicated to “Older Drivers.”
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 Massachusetts.