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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.