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Can the DMV take someone’s driver’s license based on their age?

It often feels as if there is a bias against people as they get older, as others make assumptions about what they can and cannot do. Driving is a good example of this. Despite drivers age 65 and up being far less likely to cause an accident than motorists under 25, people think seniors are a danger behind the wheel simply because they are seniors.

This can carry over to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and may people wonder: Can the DMV take someone’s license solely based on their age? Here’s an answer.

The DMV cannot take a license based on age

Let’s get this out of the way: The simple answer is, no. The DMV cannot take someone’s license just based on how old they are.

Remember though, drivers of all ages still have to renew their license every five years. That includes passing a vision test at in-person renewals. There is one age-related rule about this. Once someone reaches the age of 70, they have to do in-person renewals and can no longer renew by mail.

That doesn’t mean an older driver’s license is safe, however.

People can report unsafe drivers

In California, people can report a potentially unsafe driver to the DMV if they believe that person may be a danger to others. These unsafe driver reports are often submitted by a medical professional, a close friend or family member of the driver in question, or a peace officer.

To make a report, the person submits a “request for driver reexamination” form identifying the driver they are worried about, as well as their reasoning why. This request can trigger an evaluation of the person in question, leading to a reexamination.

If you are required to go in for the reexamination process, you may face:

  • A written test
  • A vision test
  • A driving test
  • An interview with a DMV hearing officer
  • Discussion about your health and medical history

After collecting and reviewing the evidence, the DMV hearing officer makes a decision about your license. That could include no action, or potentially a restriction of some sort, probation, suspension or a revocation. You will be notified of this decision in writing.

Do not immediately worry if you learn your license is being suspended or revoked. At this point, you do have an opportunity to challenge the decision if you disagree with it. It’s important to take this process seriously by preparing as thoroughly as possible and doing everything you can to present an effective defense.

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