Driving is not just about getting from one place to another; often it is about how we conduct our lives. Losing the ability to drive or choosing to limit where we drive can mean losing more than just transportation. It can mean losing our independence.
Everything NSW senior drivers need to know about the licensing system
75 years and older
When you reach 75 years of age, you will need to have a medical examination each year to retain your licence, this applies to all licence classes.Roads and Maritime Services (RMS, former Roads and Traffic Authority) will send you a form approximately eight weeks before your birthday for your doctor to complete. If your doctor considers you medically fit to drive, you will need to take this completed form to your local motor registry. If your doctor considers you medically unfit to drive or wants to refer you to another doctor or for a driving assessment, they will send the completed form directly to Roads and Maritime Services and you will be notified about the outcome shortly after.
85 years and older
Upon approaching your 85, 87, 89+ birthday you must decide whether you would like to keep your unrestricted drivers licence or opt to switch to a modified licence.
What is an unrestricted driver's licence?
An unrestricted driver's licence is holding your existing licence by completing a practical driving test or assessment depending on your preference
What is a ‘modified' licence?
Senior drivers may opt for a modified licence on renewal. Through negotiations with the RMS a driving radius restriction or a ‘home to town' restriction will be put in place. Modified licence holders will not be required to undertake a driving test or driving assessment.
What is involved in driving assessment conducted by a driving instructor?
An licensed driving instructor who holds a Senior Assessor qualification can conduct a driving assessment to assess a senior driver's competency and be able to recommend them for their licence or identify areas that may need further action prior to a further assessment. These driving instructors will conduct the assessment in the driver's local area.
Will senior drivers have to do a driving test with NSW Roads and Maritime Services at a motor registry?
No, to obtain an unrestricted drivers licence, a driver 85 years or over will have a choice of a driving test conducted by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services or a driving assessment by a licensed driving instructor who holds the Senior Assessor qualification such as a specialised NRMA Safer Driving School instructor. Driving assessments conducted by a driving instructor will commence from the Senior drivers' home. Alternatively, older drivers may opt for a modified licence on their licence renewal without the need for a driving assessment.
What is the difference between a driving assessment and a driving test?
A driving test is carried out by Roads and Maritime Services at local motor registries at no charge. Older drivers have a maximum of three attempts to pass their driving test before their 85th birthday, and then every two years there after. This option is free of charge.
A driving assessment is a new option available where older drivers can choose to have a driving assessment from home at their own convenience. The assessment is similar to a driving test but carried out by a driving school who have accredited assessors, such as NRMA Safer Driving School. An older driver can have as many assessments as they like on the provision they do not perform a "Serious Fail" based on the RMS standards and they must pass an assessment before their 85th birthday. This process is repeated every two years following, therefore 87, 89+, to keep their unrestricted licence. This option is on a 'fee for service' basis.
Benefits of taking your Assessment with NRMA Safer Driving School
You can feel relaxed and in trusted hands from the minute we arrive. NRMA Safer Driving School offers more than just an Assessment. You can opt for a combined Refresher and Assessment when making your booking. This allows the instructor extra time to settle your nerves and ensure you are in a relaxed environment before entering into the assessment. It also provides your instructor the opportunity to identify areas for improvement early on in the session and postpone the formal assessment if required and book in for some follow up refresher lessons.
You can be assured that NRMA has your best interests at heart and keeping you safe on our rapidly changing road conditions is our number one priority. Our friendly instructors are trained to build your confidence and assist you to retain your licence.
Download our brochure: Maintain your driving independence