Most of the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Tennessee Driver Services Division (DSD) 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: Drivers of all ages must renew their licenses every eight years.
Vision test: Required at renewal. DSD personnel will conduct a test free, or if more comprehensive testing is required, drivers may be required to have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Examination Form.
Written test: May be required at the discretion of DSD personnel.
Road test: May be required at the discretion of DSD personnel.
The DSD can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver's license if there is good cause to believe that safety requires them. The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
In Tennessee, other common requirements the DSD may impose on older drivers include:
The Tennessee DSD will accept information from a family member, physical or emergency medical technician, or police officer that a driver may have become unsafe behind the wheel.
Those who wish to file such a report should submit all details of their concern in writing to:
Tennessee Department of Safety
Driver Improvement Section
1150 Foster Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243
When renewing a license in Tennessee, drivers are asked to verify that they are physically and emotionally fit to drive. Those with significant health problems—including diabetes, pulmonary or neurologic, psychiatric, emotional, or other conditions that may impede driving—may be required to be examined by a healthcare professional who must complete a comprehensive Medical Form.
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Tennessee, contact one of the Driver Service Centers located throughout the state.
Disabled person parking placards and 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:
To obtain a disabled placard or plate:
The Driver Services Division (DSD) website contains some basic information for Tennessee drivers, including licensing and vehicle registration requirements.
Of special interest is the “Comprehensive Driver License Manual,” which includes explanations of the laws and regulations that apply to Tennessee drivers, as well as 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 Tennessee.