Senior Driver’s Licence: What Changes After 80?

As you approach your 80th birthday, you’ll be required to renew your driver’s licence, and may be asked to take a senior’s driving test. This blog will explain the reason for the renewal process, the steps involved, and how auto insurance continues to play a vital role amongst these experienced drivers. 

Why do senior drivers have to renew their license every 2 years?

The rules vary from province to territory, but in general, drivers over the age of 75 are required to provide medical statements and pass brief driving exams every 1-2 years. In Ontario, the renewal process takes place every 2 years.

The rules are set this way because it gives capable senior drivers the ability to continue driving, while simultaneously taking incapable drivers off the road. In some cases, these tests catch cognitive problems that would otherwise go unchecked by patients. In addition, Ontario doctors and medical practitioners are required to inform the Ministry of Transportation if their senior patients suffer from any conditions that would affect their ability to drive.

How to apply for Ontario driver’s license renewal when you turn 80

To make the process of license renewal as easy as possible, you’ll receive a renewal application in the mail a few months before your current license expires. When you receive the application, call 1-800-396-4233 (toll free) or 416-235-3579 (in the Greater Toronto area) to book your renewal appointment at your nearest registries office.

Before attending the appointment, watch the Ontario government’s “Ontario senior driver’s licence renewal educational video” and review the The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook to refresh your memory about the province’s driving regulations and prepare for your test. Remember that you may or may not be asked to take an Ontario senior’s driving test following this session.

Driver's licence renewal for seniors: Ontario education sessions

At the senior driver group education session, you’ll need to bring your current Ontario driver’s license, any glasses or lenses you wear for driving, and the application form you received in the mail. If you have a hearing aid, bring that too—just take everything you’d normally use for driving. The point of this session is to evaluate your cognitive ability and ensure that you have not developed dementia or another condition that makes getting behind the wheel unsafe.

The good news is that if you’re still in good shape and remember your driving rules, the assessment will be very easy! Expect to answer relevant questions as you did when you took your learner driver’s exam and road test, after going over the information with instructors in a group setting. There will be two brief written exams following a 45-minute info session. The first will cover driving rules and best practices and the second will be a mental cognition assessment. There will also be a vision test.

The second written test will ask you to draw a circle, turn it into a clock by adding the numbers 1-12, and then add clock hands to represent a specific time. That’s it! It’s a simple test that is used by doctors to check the state of different types of dementia and brain injuries, since a compromised brain struggles to properly represent a working clock using paper and a pen.

If you answer questions correctly, pass this cognitive test and have no concerning physical conditions that require further assessment, you’ll be asked to go to Service Canada online or in person to pay your driver’s license renewal fee. If you’re required to undergo further medical assessments or a road test, you’ll be notified in person at the education session, or by mail.

Car insurance for older Ontario drivers

Car insurance changes when you turn 80 since you’re required to renew your driver’s licence every 2 years. If you’re over 70 years old and you’ve been involved in a car accident that was found to be your fault, you’ll be required to take a series of tests to reclaim your driver’s licence.

Nevertheless, most insurance companies will charge higher rates as clients age, so it’s important to keep checking your options for auto coverage. Just because your existing auto insurance company wants to increase your monthly rates doesn’t mean another company won’t see your value as a client with a great driving record. Keep your options open and don’t let any company dictate your future when it comes to driver’s insurance!

Contact us for a car insurance quote online

At Acumen, we’re dedicated to finding the best coverage and rates for each individual driver, regardless of age. If you need help evaluating your car insurance options in Ontario before or after you turn 80, get in touch!

You can request a quote directly from our website, or send a message to our insurance advisors for a personal response. Tell us about your current insurance provider, let us know your personal details and driving history, and make sure we know what’s worrying you about your current or future auto insurance. We’ll find the answers together!