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Licensing & Insurance

Overview

Picture of auto keys laying on an insurance policy
To someone age 50+ driving is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It is how we maintain connections, get to and from our jobs, access services, and enjoy recreational and entertainment activities.   Many of us have not thought about what will happen when it is no longer safe to drive. It is, however, a situation everyone will face at some point in their lives for their own safety, as well as the safety of loved ones and others. 
 
The good news is age does not predict safe driving. It is how well a person performs the complicated task of driving in a safe and efficient way at any age. In order to drive in Oregon, you must have a valid driver’s license. This page provides information on licensing regulations that pertain to drivers age 50+ and information on some special provisions on insurance.

Licensing
Drivers 50 years of age and older must have their eyesight tested by DMV each time they apply for a renewal of their driver license. The person must have a visual acuity level of 20/70 or better when looking through both eyes (or one eye if the person has usable vision in only one eye). If the visual acuity of the person's best eye is worse than 20/40 but not worse than 20/70, the DMV will restrict the driver to daylight driving unless a licensed vision specialist says in a written statement the person is safe to drive after dark. 
 
Oregon law provides an opportunity for persons with a limited vision condition who use a bioptic telescopic lens to be eligible for restricted driving privileges in Oregon. Click here to learn more about this program. 
 
DMV will suspend the license when the driver’s mental or physical conditions or impairments make them no longer safe to drive. Oregon law requires certain physicians and health care providers to report to DMV persons age 14 and older who have functional and/or cognitive impairments that are severe and uncontrollable and likely to make it unsafe for them to drive. These professionals include primary care providers, or an ophthalmologist or optometrist providing care to those who do not meet DMV vision standards. These physicians and health care providers must report impairments when they meet the following threshold:
  • Severe and uncontrollable to a degree that precludes (or may preclude) the safe operation of a motor vehicle; and
  • The impairment is not correctable by medication, therapy, or surgery, or by a driving device or technique.
The issue of medically at-risk drivers brings up a lot of questions:  Am I at risk if I take medications? What happens if I have been reported? Can someone report my driving? Can I appeal if my license is suspended but I feel I can drive safely? Click here to learn more about the Medically At-Risk Driver Program.
 
Identification Card
Oregon provides a free identification card to drivers who voluntarily surrender their unexpired Oregon driver license because they feel they are no longer able to safely operate a motor vehicle. Additional information about obtaining an identification card can be accessed by clicking here.

Insurance
Oregon law allows for an age-based discount if the insured driver is age 55 years or older and if the individual has successfully completed a motor vehicle crash prevention course approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The reduction is available for three years for individuals under age 70 and for two years for those ages 70 and older. No individuals under age 25 may use the vehicle and it cannot be used for business purposes.
 
Supporting information:
Related Information
Additional information that may be relevant includes: