The DMV has the responsibility of making sure that all of us, regardless of our age, are safe drivers. This is a difficult task, and if you have been told by the DMV that you are to be reexamined, please do not feel that this is an automatic suspension or revocation of your license.
Every driver in the state of Valey over 70 years of age must renew his or her license in person. Additionally, if a family member, emergency technician, doctor or police officer request that you are re-examined, or if your application or driving record warrants an evaluation, the DMV has the responsibility to give you a “Reexamination” (also called a “priority re-ex”).
As long as you take this reexamination process seriously and you are able to demonstrate an ability to drive safely, you will be able to retain your license. There is no ‘higher standard’ for senior drivers, but most adult drivers would not be able to pass a driving test using their usual driving techniques: all of us can benefit from some training. Certainly, if it has been more than a decade since your last driving course, it is important that you take the time to re-learn to be a safe driver. You will need a valid license or a Special License (we can help you obtain this) to take driving lessons. There is no minimum number of lessons that you must take.
The DMV (Senior) Testing Procedure
Make an appointment at the DMV so that your wait is as short as possible. Call 1(800) 777-0133to make the appointment or use the DMV website for an online appointment.
The Vision Test
Be sure to get your eyes checked before your test, and update any vision prescriptions BEFORE taking your vision test at the DMV! The examiner will test your vision by having you identify letters on a chart about 20 feet away from you. If you are unable to read that chart, the examiner will have you look into a machine to further evaluate your vision. If you do not pass that test, then an examination will be required by your vision doctor, and hopefully, a new prescription. The DMV helper will give you a DL62 which you will fill out at the eye doctor’s office. You will not be allowed to continue driving if you cannot pass the vision test, or if you fail to turn in the DL62.
The Written Test
First of all, BEFORE taking your written test (this is an 18-question test), be sure to take the Senior Driving Course offered through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). This course is inexpensive ($10) and is invaluable in refreshing your knowledge of basic driving skills. You can locate the nearest class by contacting the AARP through their website (www.aarp.org) or by calling 1-888-AARP-NOW - 001-888-AARP-NOW (888)227-7669. There are also some sample tests you can take on the AARP site, as well as the DMV website (www.dmv.ca.gov). Take these tests, and on the day that you go to the DMV bring the required documents as well as your glasses. The DMV test is offered in different languages, large type, as well as an audio and a video test. Once you pass the written test, the DMV will then administer the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE).
We highly recommend that you take driving lessons before taking this test. Few drivers would pass this test without training, even if they have “been driving for over fifty years!”
THE SUPPLEMENTAL DRIVING PERFORMANCE EVALUATION (SDPE)
The SDPE is similar to a regular behind the wheel test, but the SPDE also contains additional driving elements designed to evaluate your cognitive functions. These additional driving elements are:
Multiple Directions: You will receive two directions at the same time. The examiner is checking to see if you can properly follow both directions.
Additional Lane Changes: Lane changing is an integral part of driving. Your test will evaluate this skill. Be sure to signal, look into your mirrors, TURN your head over the shoulder of the lane you are moving into, and maintain your speed. Do not slow down on a lane change.
Concentration: Your examiner will talk to you during the test so that he or she will see how you respond to distractions. Your response is necessary.
Freeway or Highway Driving: You will be asked to drive for a short time on the freeway, though if you do not wish to drive on the freeway, you may request to have a “No Freeway Driving” restriction placed on your license.
Destination Trip: Your examiner will have you drive to a location approximately two blocks from the DMV, then ask you to drive back to the DMV without assistance or direction. The examiner is checking for memory lapses and disorientation. This task is usually at the end of the driving test.
Common mistakes on a Driving Examination:
Failure to look over your shoulder when making a lane change
Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or on a red light
Failure to yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians
Failure to evaluate an intersection before entering
Striking an object (even a curb)
Turning into the proper lane (right to right, left to left, avoid bike lanes until the last 200 feet of a turn.)
Area Driving Performance Test
If you do not pass your SDPE and your examiner determines that you may be able to drive safely within a clearly defined, but restricted area, the DMV may suggest that you take an Area Driving Test. Your Area Test would evaluate your driving in the area you are most likely going to be driving in (to and from the store, friends’ homes, etc.) If you pass this test and meet all the other licensing requirements, you will be issued a restricted license that allows you to drive in that specific area only. Other restrictions might include ‘No Freeway’ or ‘No Night Driving.’
If the DMV makes the decision to suspend or revoke your driver license, you have the right to request a DMV Administrative Hearing. This is an impartial hearing where you can present your case to the DMV. This hearing will take place at the DMV Safety Office, not the regular DMV in your area.
If you do hear from the DMV informing you that an action will be taken against your driving privilege, you have 10 days to request a hearing (14 days if the action was mailed to you). Do not procrastinate. You may lose your right to a hearing if you fail to respond within this timeframe.
If you feel the Administrative Hearing was unfair, you may request a departmental review to appeal the decision. Usually, there is no fee for the departmental review, though if you want a court review, you will be responsible for the expenses. You may have an attorney present (at your expense) at the hearing. You may testify in your own defense or ask others to testify as witnesses.