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Senior drivers age 80 or older
 

Licensing

If you are 80 years of age or older, you are required to renew your driver’s licence every two years. This renewal process helps keep seniors mobile and independent longer, while helping to ensure that unsafe drivers are identified and appropriate actions are taken.

You need to undergo a driving-record review, complete a vision test and participate in a 45-minute group education session, followed by an in-class screening component. The in-class screening component will help better assess your fitness to drive.

You may be required to pass a road test before being able to renew your licence, or you may be able to renew but will have to follow up and submit medical information. The driver improvement counsellor at the group education session will discuss this with you.

There is no charge for any of the licence-renewal requirements. You only have to pay the licence-renewal fee.

More information that specifically addresses the concerns of senior drivers can be found at Ontario.ca/seniordriver. You can also call the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Contact Centre at (416) 235-2999 or 1-800-387-3445.

How aging affects driving safety

  • Reduced vision — especially at night
  • Difficulty judging distance and speed
  • Limited movement and range of motion
  • Slower reaction time
  • Difficulty focusing attention for long periods of time
  • Easily distracted
  • More time needed to understand what you see and hear
  • More use of prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs that may impair your driving ability

What you can do to make your driving safer

Your health is a key factor in your ability to drive. To help you handle the demands of safe driving:

  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure current and new medications will not negatively affect your ability to drive. Over-the-counter drugs and combinations of drugs can also impair your driving.
  • Report to your doctor:
    • vision changes, unexplained dizziness or fainting spells;
    • frequent, chronic or severe pain.
  • Avoid driving if you’re exper­iencing pain. It can decrease your ability to concentrate and limit your movement behind the wheel.
  • Have your hearing and eyes checked regularly. Peripheral vision and depth perception tend to decline over the years.
  • Your doctor can recommend an exercise program to improve flexibility and maintain strength, which can help your ability to drive safely.
  • Consider taking a driver’s course to refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road and safe driving practices.

Ask yourself: How's my driving?

Take this test and ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I experiencing an increasing number of near collisions?
  • Have I been directly involved in minor collisions?
  • Do I have difficulty driving through intersections, judging distance or seeing pedestrians, road signs or other vehicles?
  • Do I have difficulty concentrating while driving?
  • Do I get lost or disoriented on familiar roads?
  • Do I have difficulty coordinating hand and foot movements?
  • Am I experiencing vision problems, especially at night?
  • Do I get nervous behind the wheel?
  • Do other motorists frequently honk at me?
  • Do family members express concern about my driving ability?
  • How important is driving to me?

Your answers to these questions can help you decide whether to continue to drive, cut back to certain times such as daylight hours or stop driving altogether. If you have checked one or more of the warning signs and are concerned about your driving ability, talk to your doctor or family and get their opinions.

At the group education session, you will learn more about these topics on senior driver safety.