Hodgepodge of older driving rules across nation

Monday - 9/17/2012, 4:19am EDT

By The Associated Press

(AP) - A 50-state look at the varying rules across the nation governing drivers' licenses for older adults. ___

ALABAMA: Licenses are renewed every four years for all drivers, with no additional requirements for older drivers.

A legislative committee considered older driver safety in 2003 and decided not to recommend any changes, saying young drivers cause far more accidents.

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ALASKA: Licenses are renewed every five years, but starting at age 69 people may not renew by mail.

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ARIZONA: Licenses expire on the 65th birthday, and until then drivers only need new photos every 12 years _ making Arizona unique in how long a license can last. Starting at 65, drivers must renew every five years, with a vision test each time. At age 70, renewal can no longer be done by mail.

In 1995, Arizona started issuing licenses that were good until age 60. Legislation in 1999 expanded the expiration date to age 65. In an email, the Arizona Department of Transportation said the change reflected "a more realistic view of a capable driving age," that also saved money on renewals.

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ARKANSAS: Licenses are renewed every four years for all drivers, with no additional requirements for older drivers and no legislative attempts to add any.

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CALIFORNIA: Licenses are renewed every five years, and until age 70 drivers may automatically be granted two five-year renewals by mail or online. Starting at 70, drivers must renew in person, taking a written test and eye exam.

At any age, a road test may be administered if a Department of Motor Vehicles employee believes there's a reason, or if a doctor, police office, relative or even a neighbor requests one, said DMV spokesman Armando Botello. State law allows confidential reporting of a possibly unsafe driver, and California is one of the few states to require that doctors report certain medical conditions that could impact driving ability.

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COLORADO: Licenses are renewed every 10 years until age 61, when drivers must begin renewing them every five years. Starting at age 66, there's another restriction, as drivers can renew by mail only with a doctor's or optometrist's certification that they had passed an eye exam within six months.

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CONNECTICUT: Standard license renewal is every six years, with no safety-related policies for older drivers.

However, there is an option for seniors on fixed budgets to seek a cheaper two-year license.

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DELAWARE: Standard license renewal is every eight years, with no extra requirements for older drivers.

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Standard license renewal is every eight years. Starting at age 70, drivers must renew in person and bring a doctor's certification that they're medically fit to drive.

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FLORIDA: People 80 and older must renew their license every six years, compared with every eight years for younger people. Also, people 80 and older must pass an eye exam with every renewal.

Florida also allows confidential reporting of a possibly unsafe driver by anyone _ doctor, law enforcement, relative or bystander. Officials may ask those drivers to submit medical reports from their doctor or to undergo testing at a driver license office.

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GEORGIA: People 59 and older must renew their license every five years, instead of every eight. Also, anyone 64 and older must pass an eye exam with every renewal, a requirement that began in 2005.

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HAWAII: People 72 and older must renew their license every two years, compared with the standard eight years.

That's been the age since 1997, when the two-year renewal was raised from age 65.

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IDAHO: Starting at age 64, drivers must renew their license every four years compared with every eight years for younger drivers. Starting at age 69, they must renew in person at the county sheriff's office and pass an eye exam.

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ILLINOIS: At age 75, drivers must take a road test and eye exam to renew a license. At age 81, drivers must renew every two years instead of every four _ and at age 87, they must start renewing annually.

Prior to 1990, testing at renewal was required starting at age 69. In raising the age, the state cited data showing crash rates began increasing when drivers reached 75.

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INDIANA: At age 75, drivers must renew a license every three years compared with every six years for younger drivers. At age 85, drivers must begin renewing every two years.

Last year, a state senator proposed annual driving tests beginning at age 85, but the bill never made it out of committee.

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