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11/2/2012 - How do license rules for older drivers vary within states?

The rules for older drivers vary by state.

While auto insurance policies typically need to be renewed once per year, driver's licenses can be renewed once every few years. However, these rules often differ slightly among states, especially for older adults who are nearing or past their 65th birthday.

With this in mind, The Associated Press recently performed a state-by-state breakdown for when older motorists need to renew driver's licenses and what tests often accompany them. Here is a short description of the relevant rules in a few highlighted states.

Iowa. One of the biggest differences in driver's licensing laws is in Iowa. Once motorists turn 70 years old, they have to renew their licenses every two years, unlike other drivers who must renew every fifth year. Depending on how older drivers perform on their vision tests they may only be able to drive at certain times of the day or only so many miles away from their home.

Indiana. In nearby Indiana, more frequent renewal periods for older drivers start to take place once the turn 75 years old, requiring renewal once every three years. This is different from other drivers in the state who go through the renewal process once every six years, the AP reports. These renewal periods increase once again when drivers turn 85, as the state at this time requires motorists to renew every other year.

Maryland. Restrictions on older drivers aren't in place in Maryland. The AP says that as of October 1, licenses for all drivers do not expire for eight years after they are issued, regardless of the age of the motorist. Vision tests become mandated by the age 40.

Minnesota. License laws in Minnesota are similar to those in Maryland, in that there are no restrictions based on age. However, renewal periods already occur with greater frequency, as drivers have to renew every fourth year.

New Jersey. In the Garden State, drivers have to renew their licenses once every four years, independent of the age of the motorist. There are also some vision tests requirements as well, where motorists have to have their eyes checked every 10 years. However, the AP reports that the program hasn't yet been fully implemented by the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.

Ohio. While there is no special provision to Ohio laws regarding license renewal for older drivers - as with others in the state, they must renew once every four years - there are some requirements they need to satisfy if they fail their vision test. For example, if a driver receives a vision acuity score of anything worse than 20/40 in each eye without corrective enhancements like glasses or contacts, they will need to be referred to a vision specialist for further testing.

Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania aligns with a good portion of other states. Drivers need to renew once every four years no matter how old they are. However, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles does something unique, choosing 1,900 drivers over 45 years of age at random each month and then requiring them to get an eye exam and physical.

Rhode Island. Rhode Island drivers who are older than 75 have to begin renewing their licenses every other year instead of every five years like other drivers in Rhode Island. Regardless of age, motorists also have the opportunity, if they so choose, to renew their licenses online every other instance that they renew. In other words, if they renew their license when physically at the DMV one year, they can do it online two or five years later.

For a complete listing of driving rules for older drivers in all 50 states, please click here.

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