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Everything You Need to Know About Nevada Driving
Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

Did you know that the Nevada Department of Vehicle (DMV) has specialized regulations in place for older drivers? These laws are designed to ensure that senior drivers still have the physical and cognitive ability to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. In this article, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys provide an overview of the most important things to know about older driver safety and the senior citizen driving laws in Nevada. 

Know the Data: Older Drivers and Accidents

Are elderly drivers more likely to cause serious accidents? The answer is complicated. As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that senior citizens are not the age group at fault for the highest rate of accidents. Quite the contrary, it is the youngest and least inexperienced drivers who are most likely to end up in an accident. The Foundation for Traffic Safety (FTS)reports that teenagers, particularly males between the ages of 16 and 19, crash at the highest rate. 

That being said, there is some elevated risk for senior drivers. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elderly drivers are more likely to end up in a deadly crash than motorists between the age of 25 and 54. Further, older drivers who do not know their limitations— meaning they keep driving when they no longer truly have the physical or mental ability to do so— present a serious risk to themselves and other people. The CDC warns drivers over 70 to watch for age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning. 

Nevada has Specialized License Renewal Requirements for Senior Citizens

It can be a very challenging thing for senior citizens and their families to deal with, but the reality is that there may come a day when a person needs to give up their keys. Even if they were a skilled, safe driver their entire life, a physical or mental impairment may be too much to overcome. That is not to say that there is any specific age at which a person can no longer drive. There are many senior citizens in Las Vegas who drive skillfully and safely on a daily basis. In Nevada, specialized rules and regulations are in place to ensure that an elderly person can still drive safely. Here are three of the key things to understand about Nevada’s licensing renewal process for senior citizen drivers: 

  • 4-Year Renewal Instead of an 8-Year Renewal: In Nevada, a non-commercial driver’s license is generally valid for eight years. At the end of the eight year period, it will need to be renewed. As most drivers are eligible for online renewal, it is a relatively simple process. For senior citizens (65+), a driver’s license can only be renewed for four years at a time. In most cases, a driver between the ages of 65 and 70 can renew their license online for four years. 
  • A Required Vision Test for Senior Drivers (71+): Once a driver reaches the age of 71, different rules apply. They are no longer eligible for online renewal of their driver’s license. Instead, a renewal will need to happen at a local DMV office or via mail. A driver who is 71 is required to take a vision test to renew their license in Nevada. Depending on the circumstances, that vision test may occur at a DMV location or it may be submitted along with a signed statement from a Nevada licensed physician.
  • Possible Written and Road Test Requirements: The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) has the authority to require an older driver to take a written exam and/or a road test. To be clear, this will not occur in every driver’s license renewal for a senior citizen. However, a written exam and/or road test may be required if the applicant has certain medical conditions or if their recent driving history suggests safety issues.

Nevada Can Issue a Senior a Restricted License (Medical Conditions and Driving History)

The Nevada DMV can issue a partially restricted driver’s license to a senior citizen when deemed necessary for public safety. By far, the most common restriction on an elderly driver’s license is a visual impairment requirement. In effect, the restriction simply states that a senior citizen driver must wear glasses or corrective contact lenses when behind the wheel. Of course, many younger drivers have a similar restriction on their license. 

Beyond the basic visual assistance requirements, the Nevada DMV could also put more cumbersome restrictions on an elderly person’s driver’s license. As an example, a senior driver could be issued a license that limits night-time driving but in the case of emergencies. Alternatively, an elderly driver could be issued a license that restricts any driving on highways. Ultimately, these types of restrictions are put into place on a case-by-case basis. 

All Motorists in Nevada have a Responsibility to Operate in a Safe Manner

Nevada is a fault-based auto accident jurisdiction. State law is clear: All drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. The failure to do so is negligence. Any driver who operates a car in an unsafe manner is putting themselves and other people in jeopardy. They can be held legally liable for a resulting accident. It is crucial that all drivers, including senior citizens, know their limits. If you are a senior citizen, make sure that you are still capable of driving safely before getting behind the wheel. If you have an elderly parent, grandparent, or other loved one who drives, make sure that they still have the ability to do so without posing an undue risk to themselves and others. 

Concerned Family Members and State Authorities Can Request an Investigation

As noted previously, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has a general process in place to help confirm that senior citizens are still capable of driving safely. However, the state also relies, in large part, on seniors to know their own limits and on their family members to raise concerns when necessary. In Nevada, you can report a family member who you believe is not capable of driving safely. This is done through Form DLD23A – Request for Driver Re-Evaluation. In submitting this form to the Nevada DMV, you will need the following information: 

  • The personal identifying information of the driver who you are concerned about; 
  • Details about what happened (accident, near-accident, etc) that prompted action; 
  • A description of their suspected medical condition or other impairments; and 
  • A sworn certification that everything you say is true to the best of your knowledge. 

Beyond family members, other parties, including state and local law enforcement officers, can also submit a request for a driver re-evaluation to the DMV. Based on the information provided and the evaluation conducted by the DMV, this investigation could result in a senior driver losing their license or having additional restrictions placed on their driving privileges. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas

At Naqvi Injury Law, our Las Vegas auto accident attorneys firmly believe that reputations are earned— not given. We are proud to be Nevada’s premier car accident injury law firm. If you or your elderly loved one was hurt in a crash, professional representation is available. Give us a call now or connect with us online for a free, no commitment legal consultation. With an office in Las Vegas, we provide personal injury representation throughout Clark County, including in Henderson, North Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Enterprise, Sunrise Manor, Boulder City, and Summerlin South.