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.
Time limits: All drivers must renew their licenses every four years.
Vision test: May be required occasionally at the discretion of MVC personnel.
Written test: Not generally required at renewal.
Road test: Not generally required at renewal.
The MVC 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 New Jersey, other common requirements the MVC may impose on older drivers include:
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:
To report an unsafe driver, concerned individuals can write a letter including the driver's name, date of birth, address, driver's 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 609-292-7504 or mailed to:
Medical Fitness Review Unit
P.O Box 173
Trenton, NJ 08666
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 to the MVC on a Medical Examination Form.
Law enforcement officers who wish to report a potentially unsafe driver should complete a Driver Examination/Medical Evaluation Request.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.