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5 Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

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Mobility is a quality of life issue and driving is a key part of seniors staying mobile, independent and socially active. It is important for drivers of all ages to drive safely from the time they earn their driver license to the time they retire it. Safe driving involves good vision, quick reflexes, joint flexibility and muscle strength. All these components are important to ensure drivers can judge distances, quickly spot troubles and react appropriately.

Here are 5 safety tips we’ve come up with for senior drivers:

  1. Make sure your car is the right fit for you. That means being able to see over the steering wheel, reach the brake and accelerator comfortably, and get in and out of your vehicle with ease. If your vehicle isn’t the proper fit for you, don’t worry. You can install adaptive features and devices to help make your car more comfortable and safe for you to drive.
  2. Get a restricted driver license. Restrictions to your driving privilege are not punitive; they are intended to help you drive safer and longer. Restrictions are based on conditions, not age. Restrictions may include limiting when and where you may drive, such as staying off the freeway, not driving during rush hour traffic and only driving during daylight hours.
  3. Keep up your health! Have your vision and hearing checked by your physician, and exercise regularly. You need to see clearly, judge distances and hear horns and sirens when you drive. Staying active ensures you maintain muscle strength and flexibility, which can help with turning the steering wheel or looking over your shoulder.
  4. Plan your trip out before you head out the door. Find the safest, smoothest routes before leaving to your destination, so you don’t find yourself stressed or lost while driving.
  5. Enroll in a driving course to update and refresh your driving skills and knowledge of the “rules of the road”. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop driving! Improve your defensive driving techniques at a Mature Driver Improvement Course.

In addition to these tips, all drivers of any age should avoid distractions while driving, always wear their seat belt and never drive after drinking alcohol or taking prescription and over the counter medications that can impair their driving.

If you are worried that someone you know may no longer be driving safely, submit a Request for Driver Reexamination (PDF). The form is confidential.

For more tips on safe driving for older adults, read our Senior Guide for Safe Driving handbook.

For additional resources, questions or for assistance contact your local Senior Driver Ombudsmen.

Get Cleared for Take Off with REAL ID

Do you use your driver license or identification (DL/ID) card to get through airport security? Then you’ll probably want a REAL ID. Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require a REAL ID or other federally approved document to board a domestic flight.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has your ticket to get through security by offering a REAL ID – a new federal compliant option for driver licenses and identification cards. A REAL ID card is marked with a bear and star in the upper right corner of the card.

Avoid being delayed at the airport! To apply for a REAL ID, you must visit a DMV field office. Don’t forget to make an appointment to reduce your wait. Remember, you must bring at least three documents that include: proof of identity, social security number and California residency. No photocopies will be accepted for the proof of identity or social security documents. Be aware that if you have changed your name, a legal document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, also might be required.

Renewing your DL/ID online or by mail? You will receive a Federal Non-Compliant DL/ID card. This card is marked “Federal Limits Apply” and it cannot be used to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities starting October 1, 2020.


Don’t fret! These requirements do not go into effect until October 1, 2020, so you can still use a valid California DL/ID card at airports until then. If your current DL/ID card expires between now and October 1, 2020, the best time to apply for a REAL ID would be when you are due for a renewal. If you don’t want to apply for a REAL ID, you can use a U.S. passport, military ID or other TSA-approved identification document to get you through airport security.

Visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov for more information on REAL ID.

DMV Celebrates 100 Self-Service Terminals

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Yes, that’s right—100 Self-Service Terminals (SST)! How many things do you have 100 of? The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is so elated to announce that we have now launched 100 DMV Now Self-Service Terminals. The 100th located in Sacramento, our Headquarter city!

On November 30, 2017, we unveiled our 100th DMV Now kiosk at Safeway in Sacramento, California with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the momentous occasion. The first DMV Now SST was born in 2010 and fast-forward 7 years later there are now 100 SSTs! Can you believe that? To date, there are 60 DMV Self-Service Terminals in field offices and 39 in grocery stores, scattered all throughout Northern and Southern California, and 1 located at UC Irvine. Click here to find a DMV Now SST near you!

Why are we so excited, you ask? Because that means you have another option for renewing your vehicle registration. By using a DMV Now Self-Service Terminal at one of our 39 grocery store locations, you have the ability to renew your registration outside of DMV’s normal business hours, like in the evenings or on the weekends—you’ll even get your new sticker, right then and there! I mean, it’s so convenient! Get your grocery shopping done and your vehicle registration renewed all in one place.

In the future, we are hoping to expand the DMV Now Self-Service Terminal options, allowing customers the ability to complete more of their DMV business needs, anytime.

Big Fun with DMV this Summer!!!

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Looking for something to do with the family this summer?  Stop by the California State Fair! There will be fun packed events for everyone in the family.  When it gets too hot; cool off at the DMV booth inside Building C.  Here DMV staff can answer driver license or vehicle registration related questions while your kids color a DMV Dan or Danielle.

Skip the lines and learn how to schedule an appointment or pay for your vehicle registration online. Learn about these and the many other DMV services available online.  Thinking about getting a driver’s license? Make your way over to the booth and receive the 2013 California Driver Handbook.  DMV staff are available to provide assistance. 

“Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and upload the memories of your kids and their colorful DMV Dan or Danielle onto our page showing us the adventures you had at the State Fair.

Learn about California’s diverse industries and agriculture, enjoy your favorite fair food and take advantage of a great opportunity to speak to one of our amazing DMV staff members.

See you at the Fair!!!