California Driving Laws for Seniors

California driving laws don’t always require driving tests for seniors, but they do require seniors to renew their licenses every few years. Read on to learn more about California driving rules.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Seniors must renew their driver’s license in person every five years 
  • The DMV may require a driver’s test if there are concerns about a senior driver’s safety
  • The DMV may revoke or restrict a driver’s license if the driver can no longer drive safely


California Senior Citizen Driving Summary
CA Senior Citizen Driving FactsSource
DMV does not take away your driver license just because you reach a certain age.dmv.ca.gov
Due to COVID-19, license holders 69 and younger qualify for online renewal.dmv.ca.gov
License holders over the age of 70 have their license validations extended by one year. dmv.ca.gov
Your driver license can only be revoked due to mental/physical condition or inability to follow traffic laws.dmv.ca.gov
California's DMV will test eye sight to qualify for a license.dmv.ca.gov
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When looking at elderly driving laws by state, seniors’ driving tests and regulations vary. In California, there are no special car insurance coverage requirements for seniors or California driving laws prohibiting them from driving after a certain age. 

However, license renewal laws help authorities decide when to restrict or revoke a senior’s driving license to keep everyone on the road safe. 

Read on to learn more about California driving rules and CA driver’s license age requirements for senior drivers.

Senior Driver’s License Renewal in California

California drivers who are 70 or older must renew their driver’s license in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) every five years. However, due to COVID-19, there is an exception for senior driver’s license renewal in California. Currently, the DMV in California allows eligible senior drivers to renew online instead of in person.

Senior drivers must also complete the following to be eligible for a California senior driver’s license renewal: 

  • Vision test. CA DMV tests for seniors include a vision test at every license renewal. Drivers can have the test done at the DMV or get a Report of Vision Examination within six months from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
  • Written test. Senior drivers must complete a multiple-choice, 18-question test at the time of renewal. Drivers have three chances to pass and can get up to three questions wrong.
  • Possible road test. If there are concerns about a senior driver’s ability to drive safely, the DMV may require the driver to pass a road test.

If a senior driver meets all the license renewal requirements, there will be no driving restrictions or revocation. However, in some cases, a senior driver may not be able to drive safely anymore, which would result in denial of license renewal or the issuing of a restricted license. 

However, this can affect insurance rates, so read our five auto insurance buying tips for seniors. The following section will cover when a senior driver may face license revocation or restrictions from the DMV.

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Restricted Driver Licenses for Senior Drivers 

Suppose the DMV has reason to believe a driver no longer can drive safely, which has nothing to do with a California driving age maximum but rather serious health or mental issues. In that case, the DMV may restrict a senior driver’s license. Often, the DMV gets notified with concerns about a senior driver’s ability to drive safely by the driver’s doctor, family, friends, law enforcement, or the driver.

After a complete examination of a driver’s ability to drive, including a doctor’s health reports or a driving test, the DMV may place the following restrictions on a senior driver’s license:

  • Limits on where a driver can go, such as to a grocery store or doctor.
  • Requiring the driver to wear corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Requiring modifications to the car, such as outside mirrors or automatic transmission.
  • Not allowing drivers to drive on the freeway.
  • Not allowing drivers to drive at night.

It’s important to note that the above restrictions can apply to all drivers and aren’t geared explicitly for senior drivers. However, some age-related health conditions may result in senior drivers receiving the restrictions on their license, such as vision degradation.

If senior drivers’ conditions are more severe, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, the DMV may revoke the driver’s license, preventing the seniors from driving altogether.

Another option is that the DMV may also put a senior driver on medical probation when a driver or their doctor must regularly report on the driver’s medical condition. The DMV may also issue a limited-term license to senior drivers, where drivers have to come in every year or so for evaluation to ensure that they can still safely drive and won’t be putting themselves or others at risk. 

The Final Word on California Driving Laws for Seniors 

CA driving rules don’t include any specific laws for senior driving and license renewal other than requiring senior drivers to come in person to renew their driver’s license and complete a vision and written test. Other restrictions and requirements the DMV may place on senior drivers apply to all ages, not just seniors.

As a senior driver, it’s crucial to have good auto insurance coverage in case of an accident. Our free quote comparison tool will help you find your area’s best auto insurance rates.

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