In 2017, 28 million of the 34 million people who were 70 years of age or older and residing within the United States held a valid driver’s license. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, the number of residents who will be 70 years of age and older is expected to increase from 34 million to 53 million: The number of seniors on the road will also rise. This substantial increase in the number of elderly drivers across the nation has led to many states developing tools, special programs and resources that are designed to help people drive safer, longer. New Hampshire enforces numerous rules and regulations; however, the state claims there are no special rules placed on drivers based solely on their age.
New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Rules and Regulations
Although the state claims that none of their rules and regulations are based on age alone, some legal controls, including license restrictions and procedures for acquiring disability placards and plates may be particularly relevant for the senior driver.
License renewal rules for senior drivers:
- Frequency: Drivers are required to renew their licenses every five years.
- A road test: May be required. Whether an individual performs a road test or not is determined by DMV personnel at the time of his or her renewal request.
- A written test: This type of test is not usually required when applying for a renewal.
- A vision test: This test is required when applying for a renewal. This vision test is conducted by DMV personnel and there is no charge for the test. Drivers who must have a more accurate vision test performed or those who have apparent eye defects may need to have an exam conducted by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist. Individuals who require this additional testing must have it completed within 30 days of the renewal request. In addition, the report from the optometrist or ophthalmologist must be received during this 30-day timeframe.
When necessary, the department of motor vehicles can place conditions or restrictions on an individual’s license. These restrictions would be placed after a driving test is administered and the potential restrictions are discussed with the individual.
When it comes to restrictions for older drivers, wearing corrective contact lenses or glasses while driving is the most common requirement.
Other common requirements imposed on older drivers by the New Hampshire DMV include:
- Night restrictions — daylight driving only.
- Outside mirrors required on the vehicle.
- The vehicle must have an automatic transmission.
- The mandatory use of a prosthetic aid while driving.
- The vehicle must have an appropriate mechanical aid.
Obtaining License Plates or Parking Placards for Disabled Drivers
Obtaining disability plates and/or placards requires that the individual’s impaired mobility is certified by a licensed medical practitioner.
These disability plates and placards are designed for an individual who:
- Is unable to walk without the assistance of a crutch, cane or some other type of assistive device, which includes the help of another person.
- He has a severe cardiac condition.
- Uses a portable oxygen tank.
- She has severe lung disease.
- Has an orthopedic, neurological or arthritic condition that severely limits his or her ability to walk.
Steps for obtaining a disability plate and/or placard:
- Complete the Application for Walking Disability Privileges.
- Have your medical provider fill out the Medical Provider Information section of the form.
- Make a copy of your vehicle’s current registration.
- If you are applying for a disability plate, complete the Application for Vanity Plates form.
- Permanently disabled persons and travel placards are complimentary; however, temporary placards are not.
- Include the required fees.
- Mail everything to the address of the Walking Disability office listed on the form.
Requesting an Unsafe Driver Investigation in the State of New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, there is no formal process for reporting potentially dangerous drivers; therefore, if you have a specific concern about an individual driver, contact the DMV’s main office at 603-227-4000.
Reinstating Your License
The reason that your driver’s license was suspended or revoked determines which procedures are required to have it reinstated. An experienced, New Hampshire attorney can assist you as you work towards reinstating your driver’s license.