West Virginia Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

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

Updated by , Attorney

The myriad rules and regulations enforced by the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages—and the state claims it imposes no special rules on drivers based on age alone.

However, 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.

License Renewal Rules in West Virginia

Time limits: All drivers must renew in person every five years; under the state's "Drive for Five" program, drivers must renew in a year in which their ages are divisible by five—that is, when you turn 65, 70, 75, and so on. Drivers can renew online.

Vision test: Required at renewal if the driver has vision limitations. DMV personnel will conduct a test free. If more information is required, drivers must have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Vision Specialist's Exam Results and Certification.

Written test: Generally required only if there are indications of driver impairment.

Road test: Generally required only if there are indications of driver impairment.

Possible License Restrictions

The DMV 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 West Virginia, the DMV has broad discretion to "impose license restrictions to assure the safe operation of motor vehicles." The restrictions will be noted on a driver's license.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in West Virginia

The West Virginia DMV will accept information from immediate family members, caregivers, DMV employees, law enforcement, and doctors about a person who has potentially become unsafe behind the wheel.

Reports should be made by completing a Medical Review Request.

Completed request forms should be mailed to:

Division of Motor Vehicles

Medical Section

P.O. Box 17030

Charleston, WV 25317

After receiving a request, the DMV may require more detailed information from a physician, who must perform an examination within 90 days and complete and file a Medical Report Form with licensing authorities.

How to Get a License Reinstated

For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in West Virginia, contact one of the DMV Regional Offices located throughout the state.

How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver

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:

  • cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device
  • are severely restricted by lung disease
  • use portable oxygen
  • have a severe cardiac condition, or
  • are severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

To obtain a disabled placard or plate:

    Learn More About West Virginia Driving Rules for Seniors

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

    Of special interest is the downloadable "Driver's Licensing Handbook," available in English, Japanese, and Spanish, and includes safe driving tips and a complete explanation of local rules of the road.

    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 West Virginia.

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