Virginia Highway Safety Office News ReleasesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 22, 2014
Media Contact: Brandy Brubaker
Department of Motor Vehicles
Mature Driver Law Change Goes into Effect January 1
Drivers 75+ Must Renew Licenses in Person Every Five Years
RICHMOND - Beginning January 1, 2015, Virginia law requires drivers age 75 and older to visit a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service center every five years to renew their driverís licenses.
These drivers do not need to renew their licenses until their current licenses are set to expire. At each renewal, they will have a vision screening, which is the standard for all individuals renewing in person.
Currently, drivers 80 and up renew their licenses in person every eight years.
The new law, called Darren's Law, was passed by the legislature in 2014 and came as a result of a DMV-led study which included representatives from the medical profession, elder care industry, state agencies, state colleges and universities, law enforcement, AARP, AAA Mid-Atlantic, insurance industries, and concerned citizens.
Darren's Law is named in memory of Darren Morrell. The 32-year-old Oakton man was killed in 2011 by an elderly driver who turned into traffic - and into the path of Morrell's motorcycle - without looking. The driver was unaware that the crash had occurred and continued driving until he was stopped a short distance away by passersby.
Morrell's family, led by his father David and brother Bryan, led the push for greater safety standards for mature drivers. Delegate Timothy Hugo championed the bill with assistance from Senator Jeffrey McWaters who carried a companion bill in the state Senate.
"In many cases, seniors are some of the safest drivers out there. However, we know that aging naturally brings about health changes that can affect driving," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Darren's death is a tragic reminder of what can happen when unsafe drivers are out on the road. We think Darren's Law is a good compromise that better protects Virginians while allowing seniors who are still able to safely drive to do so."
The law also gives the court the option to require mature drivers to take a mature driver motor vehicle crash prevention course when adjudicating driving-related offenses.
Driver's license fees are $4 per year. A five-year license costs $20.
For driving safety tips and other resources, visit GrandDriver.net. The website is an initiative of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and is funded by DMV.