New Hampshire Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

Most of the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages—and the state claims it imposes no special rules on drivers based on age alone.

Still, some of the legal controls discussed here, such as restrictions on a driver’s license and procedures for securing disability parking plates and placards, may be especially relevant for older drivers.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

Time limits: All drivers must renew every five years.

Vision test: Required at renewal. DMV personnel will conduct a test free. Drivers who need more accurate testing or have apparent eye defects may be required to have an additional exam conducted by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete an Eye Exam report and conduct the exam within 30 days of the renewal request.

Written test: Not generally required at renewal.

Road test: May be required at renewal at the discretion of DMV personnel.

Possible License Restrictions

The DMV 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 New Hampshire, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:

  • outside mirror on a vehicle
  • vehicle equipped with a mechanical aid
  • vehicle equipped with automatic transmission
  • driving only while wearing a prosthetic aid, and
  • daylight driving only.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in New Hampshire

Unlike most states, New Hampshire does not have a formal process for reporting drivers suspected of becoming unsafe. For specific concerns about an individual driver, contact the main office of the New Hampshire DMV at 603-227-4000.

How to Get a License Reinstated

Procedures for reinstating a driver license that has been suspended or revoked differ according to circumstance. For specific information about an individual license, contact the local DMV office.

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:

  • cannot walk without assistance from either a person or assistive device such as a cane or crutch
  • have severe lung disease
  • use potable oxygen
  • have a severe cardiac condition, or
  • are severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition.

To obtain a disabled placard or plate:

  • Complete and sign an Application for Walking Disability Privileges.
  • Have a licensed physician, podiatrist, advanced practice registered nurse or physician’s assistant complete the Medical Provider Information portion of the form.
  • Make a copy of the current vehicle registration.
  • If applying for a disabled person license plate, complete an Application for Vanity Plates.
  • Include all required fees. A permanent disabled person placard and a travel placard are free. Temporary placards cost $6. Permanent disabled person plates cost $8; special vanity plates cost $33.
  • Mail the documentation and required fees to the Walking Disability office on the form.

For more information, see the Governor’s Commission on Disability’s online brochure, “People With Walking Disabilities.

Learn More About New Hampshire Driving Rules for Seniors

The DMV website has a wealth of information for New Hampshire drivers, including licensing and vehicle registration requirements and links to the state’s driving rules and laws.

Of special interest is the downloadable “Driver’s Manual,” which explains local regulations and rules of the road and contains some basic descriptions of how aging may affect driving skills.

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 New Hampshire.

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