photo: Cooper & O'Hara

How Licensing Changes as You Age

By AMA Staff

In Alberta, the process for renewing your driver’s licence changes as you age. Here’s what to expect from at this later stage of your driving journey.

As you plan your retirement from work, it may also be time to start thinking about an eventual retirement from driving. This is a way down the road for most younger seniors, but taking stock of your options now means you’ll be better prepared for the future—especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition that may impact your driving as you age. And if your health changes in a way that could affect your ability to drive, you must disclose it to the government.

Shortly before your 75th birthday, you’ll receive a letter from the government telling you to arrange for a medical exam in order to renew your driver’s licence. Most family physicians can administer the exam, which tests your vision, hearing, blood pressure and cognitive ability. It also accounts for your medical history and current health.

Prepare for the exam by ensuring your vision prescription is up to date, and by going for a hearing test, if you think you need one. And make a habit of performing simple exercises to aid your flexibility (essential for shoulder checking) and mental acuity.

Why it’s important to be proactive about evaluating your driving skills as you age, and what alternatives are available to seniors who have retired from driving

The government requires that you undergo the driver medical exam again prior to your licence renewal. An exam is then required every two years after age 80 (i.e. at 82, 84, etc). If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may need to go for several exams.

At this point you’ll also want to further explore your mobility options—so you’re better prepared to transition out of driving, if and when the time comes.

Infographic showing the process of being certified to drive after you turn 75.

Visit an AMA centre—on your own or with your family—or call 1-800-642-3810 to talk to us about your senior driving journey. See for more information.