New Mexico Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

Updated by , Attorney (University of Arkansas School of Law)

While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.

New Mexico state rules are explained in more detail below, but a couple of them focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe.

Specifically, New Mexico:

  • requires drivers beginning at age 67 to renew their licenses every four years, and
  • requires drivers age 75 and older to renew their licenses in person annually.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers in New Mexico

Special rules apply to drivers who are 67 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits: Drivers age 79 and older must renew in person every year at a local MVD office. Those under age 79 may opt to renew their driver's license for either four or eight years.

Vision test: Required at renewal. MVD personnel will conduct a test free. If a more complete test is required, MVD may require the driver to be tested by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Report.

Written test: Not generally required at renewal.

Road test: Not generally required at renewal.

Possible License Restrictions

The MVD can place restrictions or conditions on a person's driver's license intended to keep the driver and the roadways safe. The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.

In New Mexico, another common requirement the MVD may impose is driving only during daylight hours. It also has fairly broad discretion to impose "driving restrictions that are appropriate based on the patient's disease or vision condition" as verified by a licensed physician. Specific restrictions may include mechanical aids on a car or prosthetic aids on the driver.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in New Mexico

Unlike most states, New Mexico has no established forms or procedures for reporting drivers who have potentially become unsafe behind the wheel. Contact the local MVD office with specific concerns about an individual driver.

How to Get a License Reinstated

Procedures for getting back a license that has been suspended or revoked in New Mexico differ according to the situation. For specifics in an individual situation, contact one of the MVD offices located throughout the state.

How to Get License Plates for a Disabled Driver

Disabled person 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 100 feet without stopping to rest
  • cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device
  • are severely restricted by lung disease
  • use portable 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:

Learn More About New Mexico Driving Rules for Seniors

The MVD website contains basic information for New Mexico drivers, including explanations of licensing and vehicle registration requirements.

Of special interest is the "Driver Manual," available in both English and Spanish, which includes descriptions of local rules of the road and tips for safe driving.

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 Mexico.

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