Older drivers

The older driver licensing system is designed to balance the safety of road users and the general community, with the continuing independence and mobility of older drivers. What you need to do depends on how old you are.

A guide to older driver licensing

You can find information about how to continue driving safely, and your licence options, in the Guide to older driver licensing

The guide contains a self-assessment questionnaire, and suggestions about how to overcome, or limit the impact of the aging process, on your driving ability.

Roads and Maritime Services will post you a copy of this guide, when you reach 84 years and six months. It’s also available for free, at any registry or service centre, or by phoning 13 22 13.

70-74 years old

There are no special requirements if you’re between 70 and 74 years old, unless you hold a multi-combination (class MC) licence. If you hold an MC licence, you’ll need to pass a practical driving test every year to keep your MC licence, once you turn 70.

75-79 years old

When you reach 75 years old, you’ll need to have a medical review every year to keep your licence, regardless of the class of licence you hold. See Are you fit to drive? for more information.

80-84 years old

If you’re between 80 and 84 years old, and hold a car (class C) or rider (class R) unrestricted licence, you don’t need to take a practical driving assessment, although you do need to have a medical review every year, to keep your licence.

If you hold a heavy vehicle licence (classes LR, MR, HR or HC), you need to have a medical review and a practical driving assessment every year. See Are you fit to drive? for more information.

You must pass all the reviews and assessments before your birthday. If you’re unable to meet this requirement, contact Roads and Maritime Services for advice.

85 and older

When you reach 85 years old, you’ll need to have a medical review every year, to keep your licence. See Are you fit to drive? for more information.

You also have the choice of taking out a modified licence, or keeping your unrestricted licence. If you wish to keep your unrestricted licence, you’ll need to successfully pass a practical driving assessment, every second year.

Modified licence

A modified licence lets you keep driving under certain circumstances. These circumstances are added to your licence as conditions, which are printed on the back of the card. You must comply with the conditions on your licence when driving.

If you choose a modified licence, you do not need to attempt a practical driving assessment.

For example, you may choose to drive only within a certain distance of your home, or only at certain times of the day. You should discuss your options with your doctor, who can help you work out ways to keep you safe on the road.

Once you’re ready to apply for a modified licence, visit a registry or service centre. The manager will discuss your individual needs with you, and work out the conditions that provide for your driving requirements.

Unrestricted licence – practical driving assessment

If you want to keep your unrestricted licence, you’ll need to pass a practical driving assessment every second year (at 85 years old, 87, 89, and so on).

You can do a driving test with a Roads and Maritime testing officer, or you can choose to be assessed by an Older Driver Assessor. Older Driver Assessors are driving instructors accredited by Roads and Maritime, and charge a fee to conduct an assessment in your local area.

Note: If you want to be assessed on your ability to drive a heavy vehicle (licence classes LR, HR, MR, HC or MC) or motorcycle (class R), you must be tested by a Roads and Maritime testing officer. Older Driver Assessors can only assess you if you hold a car (class C) licence.

You might find it useful to read the Road Users’ Handbook, or do a refresher course with a driving school, before attempting your test or assessment.

What if I fail my test or assessment?

You can have up to three attempts at a Roads and Maritime driving test. There is no limit to the number of older driver assessments you can attempt, but remember that the assessor will charge a fee every time.

If you fail, you can choose to have a modified licence instead. If you hold a higher class of licence, you can choose to change it to a car (class C) licence.

Note: If your testing officer or assessor judges that you have failed with a ‘serious error’, your licence will be cancelled. A serious error occurs when your driving behaviour is a clear danger to yourself, or other road users.

Changing the class of your licence

If you hold a ‘higher’ class of licence, such as a heavy vehicle licence (classes LR, MR, HR, HC or MC), or a motorcycle licence (class R), you can choose to change it to a car (class C) licence at any time, and at no cost. Visit a registry or service centre to make the change.

If you choose to stop driving

If you decide that you would like to stop driving altogether, you can return your licence to a registry or service centre, or post it to Roads and Maritime with a short covering letter advising us of your decision.

You can apply for a NSW Photo Card, if you still need photo identification. There is no charge for a NSW Photo Card, if you are handing in your driver licence.

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