Michigan Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

There are now 1.2 million drivers in Michigan who are 65 or older and by 2025, an estimated one in five drivers will be 65 or older--the fastest growing population of drivers in the state.

The myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) apply to drivers of all ages and stages—and the state claims to impose no special requirements on drivers based solely on age.

In the interest of keeping drivers and roadways safe, however, the SOS accepts requests from any citizen who is concerned about the possibility that an individual is driving unsafely.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

No special rules apply to drivers based on age.

Time limits: Drivers of all ages must renew every four years.

Vision test: Required at renewal. SOS personnel will conduct a test free. If the SOS requires it, the driver must have an additional eye test performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Specialist’s Statement of Examination and conduct the exam within six months of the renewal request.

Written test: Not required at renewal.

Road test: Required only if the SOS receives indications of driver impairment..

Possible License Restrictions

The SOS 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 Michigan, other common requirements the SOS 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 Michigan

The Michigan SOS will accept requests for driver reexaminations from medical professionals, law enforcement, family members and friends, or concerned citizens. All information provided remains confidential to the extent permitted by law. Anonymous tips cannot be accepted.

There are two ways to request that the SOS review driving qualifications:

  • Write and sign a letter including the name, birthdate and address or driver’s license number of the driver who is causing the concern, giving specific reasons for making the report.
  • Complete a Request for Driver Evaluation.

Letters or completed forms should be mailed to:

Michigan Department of State

Traffic Safety Division

P.O. Box 30810

Lansing, MI 48909

They can also be emailed to medicalforms@michigan.gov.

How to Get a License Reinstated

For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Michigan, see “Revocation Reviews.”

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 medical practitioner certifies the condition.

The placards and plates are available for those who are blind or have any condition that significantly limits the ability to walk or who need a wheelchair, walker, crutch or other assistive device to get around.

Steps required to obtain a license plate in cases of a permanent disability are:

  • Complete and sign an Application for a Disability License Plate.
  • Have a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, chiropractor, physician’s assistant or podiatrist complete Part 2 of the application.
  • Mail the completed form to the SOS office indicated on it.

Learn More About Michigan Driving Rules for Seniors

The SOS website has a wealth of information for Michigan drivers, including explanations for licensing drivers and registering vehicles.

Of special interest is the downloadable booklet, “Michigan’s Guide to Aging Drivers and Their Families,” which includes safe driving tips, self-assessment tests for seniors and guidance for family members who have concerns about a driver’s safety behind the wheel.

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 Michigan.

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