Oregon Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

Oregon has nearly 3 million licensed drivers—and a growing number of them are age 65 and older. While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Oregon  Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)  apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.

Oregon state rules are explained in more detail below, but a number of them focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe behind the wheel.

Specifically, Oregon:

  • requires drivers age 50 and older to pass a vision screening when they renew their licenses
  • accepts requests from family members and others for the DMV to conduct unsafe driver investigations, and
  • requires doctors who diagnose patients with conditions that may make them unsafe drivers to report the diagnosis.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

Special rules apply to drivers who are 50 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits:  All drivers must renew their licenses in person at a  DMV office  every eight years.

Vision  test:  Required at in-person renewal; DMV personnel will conduct a test free.

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

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

Possible License Restrictions

The DMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver license if good reason is shown to do so. The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.

In Oregon, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:

  • an additional outside mirror on a vehicle
  • driving vehicle equipped with automatic transmission
  • no nighttime driving
  • driving vehicles equipped with specified hand controls, and
  • driving only while wearing a prosthetic aid.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in Oregon

The Oregon DMV will accept information from family members, friends, law enforcement officials, social service providers, and others with knowledge that a driver has a limitation or condition that may affect the ability to drive safely.

Information should be submitted on a  Driver Evaluation Request  form. Requests cannot be based on age, diagnosis, or general health alone; they must relate to specific instances of observed unsafe driving. Anonymous requests will not be honored; however, those filing requests may ask for confidentiality.

Completed requests should be submitted in person to any  local DMV office  or mailed to DMV Driver Safety Unit; 1905 Lana Avenue NE; Salem, OR 97314.

For more details, see the  DMV’s At-Risk Driver Program.

Mandatory Reporting for Doctors

Oregon is one of only a few states that require doctors who diagnose a patient with a “severe and uncontrollable” condition or impairment likely to affect driving ability to report that diagnosis to the DMV using a  Mandatory Impairment Referral  form.

For more details, see the  DMV’s Medically At-Risk Driver Program for Medical Professionals.

How to Get a License Reinstated

Procedures for getting back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Oregon differ according o individual circumstances. For targeted information, contact one of the  DMV offices  located throughout the state.

How to Get Parking Placards for a Disabled Driver

Disabled person parking placards 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:

  • have severely limited mobility because of paralysis or the loss of use of some of their arms or legs
  • have a loss of vision or acuity that cannot be corrected, or
  • cannot walk 200 feet without an assistive device because of chronic heart condition, emphysema, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerative colitis, chronic bowel disorder, or other severely limiting condition.

To obtain a disabled placard:

  • Complete and sign an  Application for Parking Permit for an Individual With a Disability.
  • Have a licensed doctor, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, naturopath, optometrist, certified physician’s assistant, or certified nurse practitioner sign the Certificate of Disability portion of the application.
  • Take the completed form to a  local DMV office  or mail it to: DMV Driver Issuance Unit - Parking Permits Clerk; 1905 Lana Ave NE; Salem OR 97314.

Learn More About Oregon Driving Rules for Seniors

The  DMV website  has a wealth of information for Oregon drivers, including licensing and vehicle registration requirements.

Of special interest is the DMV web page dedicated to  senior drivers.

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 Oregon.

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