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.
No special rules apply to drivers based on age.
Time limits: Drivers of all ages must renew every eight 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.
In-person renewal: In-person renewal at a Secretary of State office is necessary if any of the following apply:
Written test: Not required at renewal.
Road test: Required only if the SOS receives indications of driver impairment.
The SOS 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 Michigan, other common requirements the SOS may impose on older drivers include:
The Michigan SOS will accept requests for driver reexaminations from medical professionals, law enforcement, family members, 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:
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.
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Michigan, see “Revocation Reviews.”
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 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:
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.
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.