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Older Drivers and State Laws: A Few Things to Consider

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MARCH 17, 2003 VOLUME 10, NUMBER 37

Twice in October 2002, Elder-Law Issues highlighted concerns of and about older drivers. (See What Can Be Done About Driving Skills As We Age? and Dealing With Impaired Driving Skills In Aging Family Members) This week and next we continue our examination of driving and aging. If you are concerned about the driving habits of an older family member or client, or want to know what is in your own future, here are some things you should know:

a. Older persons do not automatically lose their driver’s licenses. No state has an age-based revocation of driving privileges.

b. Road tests and vision exams are rarely required to maintain a driver’s license. Only drivers 75 or older living in Illinois or New Hampshire must take a road test to renew a driver’s license. However, your state department of motor vehicles may initiate a re-examination interview and road testing upon receiving a referral from family, friends, health care or other professionals who have concerns about an unsafe driver.

A vision test is required in Maine for first license renewals, at every second license renewal until 62, and thereafter at every renewal. In Oregon, vision screening is required every eight years for drivers 50 and above. Utah requires that drivers aged 65 or older take a vision test. Arizona requires a vision test verification form to have been completed within three months of a renewal by mail for those 65 or older.

c. Physicians are not required to report functional impairments in a driver—with two exceptions: 1. Physicians with demented patients in California. 2. Physicians who diagnose or treat patients with epilepsy in California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Although they may not be required to report impairments physicians are not ethically prohibited from reporting safety concerns.

d. Five states restrict driver’s license renewal by mail for older drivers. In Alaska, license renewal by mail is unavailable to drivers 69 or older. Arizona, California and Louisiana prohibit renewal by mail for drivers 70 and older. At 66, drivers in Colorado can no longer renew their licenses by mail.

e. 13 states have accelerated renewal periods for older drivers. Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico and Rhode Island have shorter renewal cycles for older drivers, though the cycles vary among those states. In Idaho drivers must renew their licenses every four years beginning at age 63 and no longer have the option of electing an eight-year cycle. In Illinois once a driver turns 81 she/he must renew every two years until 87. At 87 the Illinois license renewal is annual. Rhode Island drivers must renew every two years starting at age 70. At 69 Missouri drivers must renew every three years.

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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.