In Texas, driver license matters are handled by the Department of Public Safety (DPS); vehicle registration, license plates, and disability parking issues are overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
While the myriad rules and regulations that exist apply to Texas drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers. Specifically, Texas:
Special rules apply to drivers who are 79 and older who seek to renew their licenses.
Time limits: Drivers ages 78 and under must renew every 8 years; those meeting specific eligibility requirements may renew in one of four ways:
You can check your license eligibility status online.
Drivers ages 79 to 84 must renew in person every six years; those 85 and older must renew on their second birthday after the previous expiration date.
Vision test: Required at in-person renewal. Applicants who may need to be assessed more accurately or whose eyesight is less than 20/70 with correction or 20/40 without correction will be directed to be examined by an outside vision specialist, who must complete an Eye Specialist form.
Knowledge test: May be required if DPS personnel deem it necessary.
Road test: May be required if DPS personnel deem it necessary.
The DPS 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 Texas, other common requirements the DPS may impose on older drivers include:
The Texas DPS will accept written concerns about drivers who may have a medical condition that could affect the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle from any person with knowledge of the driver’s condition; such reports may be made anonymously. All concerns may be summarized on an Examination/Investigation Request form.
Completed forms may be submitted to the DPS by mail, fax, or email.
Texas Department of Public Safety
Enforcement and Compliance Service
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0001
After reviewing an unsafe driver report, the DPS may require the driver to take additional vision, knowledge, or driving tests or be examined by a licensed doctor who must supply additional medical information.
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Texas, contact one of the DPS driver license offices throughout the state. You can also learn more on the DPS's page on Reinstating Your Driver License or Driving Privilege.
For a synopsis of parking regulations for disabled drivers, see the downloadable pamphlet, “Disabled Placards & Plates: Where You Can Park.”
Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to Texas drivers who have impaired vision or mobility if a licensed healthcare provider certifies the condition.
To qualify as a visual disability, a person must have visual acuity of:
The placards and plates are also available for individuals with physical limitations, including those who:
To obtain a disabled placard or plate:
To renew your permanent placard, you will need to complete the affidavit portion of a new application, sign it, and submit it along with a copy of your original application to your county tax office. If your temporary placard is expiring and you want a permanent placard, you will need to follow the instructions above to complete a new application for a permanent placard.
Websites run by both the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) contain a wealth of information for the state's drivers, including links to the controlling laws.
Of special interest is the downloadable Texas Driver’s Handbook in English or Spanish, which includes information on licensing, registering vehicles, and rules of the road. Driver's license testing is also available in both English and Spanish.
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 Texas.