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.

Updated by , Attorney · University of Arkansas School of Law

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 in Oregon

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's 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 a 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 to 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

If you need help with an auto accident or traffic ticket, you can browse the free lawyer directories on Lawyers.com or Avvo.com, two sites that are part of the Nolo family.

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