New Jersey Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

One out of every four New Jersey residents is 55 or older—and that ratio is expected to increase in the coming years.

Most of the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the New Hampshire  Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC)  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 possible 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 their licenses every four years.

Vision test:  May be required occasionally in the discretion of MVC personnel.

Written test:  Not generally required at renewal.

Road test:  Not generally required at renewal.

Possible License Restrictions

The MVC 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 Jersey, other common requirements the MVC may impose on older drivers include:

  • wearing a prosthetic device while driving
  • driving a vehicle equipped with one or more specified mechanical devices, and
  • complying with special modifications or limited driver privileges tailored to an individual medical condition.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in New Jersey

The New Jersey MVC will accept information from family members, physicians, judges or police officers about an individual who may potentially be unsafe behind the wheel.

Conditions that the MVC recognizes as common causes for safety concerns include:

  • visual impairment
  • confusion or disorientation
  • memory loss or lapses
  • impaired or altered consciousness
  • Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • neurological conditions, such as seizure disorders, and
  • sleep apnea.

To report an unsafe driver, concerned individuals can write a letter providing including the driver’s name, date of birth, address, driver license number and medical condition. The letter must specify the complainant’s relationship to the driver—and include details of the driver’s impairment and specific safety concerns. The reports cannot be kept anonymous and can be revealed to the driver on request.

Letters should be faxed to the Medical Fitness Review Unit at 609-341-3373 or mailed to:

Medical Fitness Review Unit

P.O Box 173

Trenton, NJ 08666

Mandatory Reporting for Doctors

New Jersey is one of only a few states that require doctors who diagnose a patient with a disorder characterized by lapses of consciousness, seizures, or loss of motor coordination to report it the MVC on a  Medical Report Form.

Reports by Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers who wish to report a potentially unsafe driver should complete a  Driver Examination/Medical Evaluation Request.

New Jersey Driver Improvement Programs

Drivers can improve their skills by taking an education and training class specifically developed for older drivers. A number of  Mature Driver Courses  are offered locally.

How to Get a License Reinstated

For licenses that have been suspended because the driver has been found “medically unqualified,” contact the Medical Review Unit by phone at 609-292-7500, ext. 5032 or fax at 609-292-7504. For other types of suspensions or revocations, contact the MVC’s Driver Management Bureau at 609-292-7500.

How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver

A motorist who has temporarily lost mobility and is medically certified can obtain a temporary placard from the local police department. The placard, which costs $4, is valid for six months and may be renewed only once.

Drivers with more permanent disabilities may be able to obtain disabled person parking placards and license plates if a licensed medical practitioner certifies that their mobility is impaired.

The placards and plates are available for those who:

  • have lost the use of one or more limbs as a consequence of paralysis, amputation, or other permanent disability
  • are severely and permanently disabled and cannot walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device
  • have severe lung disease
  • have a severe cardiac condition
  • are severely and permanently limited in the ability to walk because of an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition; or cannot walk two hundred feet without stopping to rest,
  • have a permanent sight impairment of both eyes as certified by the N.J. Commission of the Blind, if they seek a placard only.

To obtain a disability placard or plate:

For more information on disability parking privileges in New Jersey, see the MVC's  FAQ  on the topic.

Learn More About New Jersey Driving Rules for Seniors

The  MVC website  contains basic information for New Jersey drivers, including rules on licensing and vehicle registration requirements.

Of special interest is the downloadable “New Jersey Driver Manual,” which includes tips for safe and defensive driving, along with explanations of local rules of the road.

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 Jersey.

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