While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.
Virginia 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. Specifically, Virginia:
Special rules apply to drivers who are 75 and older who seek to renew their licenses.
Time limits: Drivers age 75 and older must renew every five years; drivers younger than 75 must renew every eight years. Drivers age 75 and older must renew in person.
Vision test: Required at renewal for those age 75 and older. DMV personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Customer Vision Report and conduct the exam within 90 days of the renewal request.
Written test: May be required at renewal at the discretion of DMV personnel.
Road test: May be required at renewal at the discretion of DMV personnel.
The DMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver's license if it deems it necessary to keep the driver and roadways safe. In Virginia, the most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
The Virginia DMV will accept requests to review driving fitness from anyone with personal knowledge that a driver may have become unsafe behind the wheel. Only requests that come from relatives or licensed medical professionals will be kept confidential from the driver.
To request that the DMV review driving qualifications, complete a Medical Review Request. Your request must include:
Those who wish to file such a report should submit all details of their concern in writing to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Medical Review Services
Post Office Box 27412
Richmond, Virginia 23269-0001
For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in Virginia, contact one of the DMV Customer 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 DMV website offers basic information for Virginia drivers, including licensing and vehicle registration requirements.
The DMV also offers a page on “Mature Driver Safety,” with specialized tips for older drivers. You can also visit the Virginia GrandDriver website, which provides information for seniors, caregivers, and professionals about safe driving and testing centers throughout the state.
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 Virginia.