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Senior Guide for Safe Driving - Part 4


Senior Guide for Safe Driving

Part 4: Driver License Renewal Process

Drivers 70 years old or older at the time the driver license expires must appear in person to renew their driver license. Knowledge and vision tests are required. DMV sends a renewal notice to your address of record about 60 days before your license expires. If you do not receive a renewal notice, you will need to complete an original Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form. To obtain the DL 44 form by mail, call DMV’s automated phone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-777-0133.

Feeling some anxiety or nervousness before or during the driver license renewal process is normal for many people. The best way for you to minimize these emotions is to prepare for the renewal process. Be sure to make an appointment to renew your driver license at your local DMV office at or call 1-800-777-0133.

Preparation Tips 

  • Do not wait until your driver license is about to expire to start the renewal process. 
  • Study the California Driver Handbook (available at or call 1-800-777-0133 to have a copy mailed to you). 
  • Take DMV’s Sample Driver License Knowledge Test(s) available at
  • If possible, make a morning appointment and eat a nutritious breakfast before coming to DMV. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before your test.

Knowledge Test on a TouchScreenTerminal (TST) (Formerly Known as Written Test)

There is a new and easy way to take the driver license test. It is a TST system.

Here’s how the system works; select your preferred language, log in using the same thumb print that you used to begin the driver license process, and begin the multiple choice test. While using the TST, you will be guided through the knowledge testing process. The TST system supports taking the traffic laws and road signs test.

The TST system improves field office wait times and reduces test times, fraud, and mistakes made by a manual correction process.

Once you complete the test, it will show either a pass or a fail notification. The test also provides an opportunity for you to review the questions you missed and corresponding California Driver Handbook section before leaving the testing area. The TST system does not require computer skills and there is no mouse. The “print” size can be enlarged to make the knowledge test easier to read. Another advantage is only one knowledge test question appears at a time, making it much easier to concentrate and less intimidating than a whole column of questions.

Your application fee allows you 3 chances to pass the knowledge test. The driver license renewal test consists of 18 multiple choice questions. A passing grade is 3 errors or less. 

TST Tips 

  • Visit the DMV website at to take the practice tests.
  • Every question on the test is taken from the California Driver Handbook. Take your time and read each question carefully. There is only 1 correct answer. The other 2 answers will be either obviously wrong or close to being correct; however, not the most accurate. 
  • Most importantly, take your time. If you do not pass, you may be issued a temporary driver license. This will allow you to review the handbook and testing material past your license expiration date, so you will not feel rushed.

"Every question on the test is taken from the California Driver Handbook"


Vision Tests

DMV uses 2 tests to measure visual acuity (keenness of vision). The most common test is a wall chart. Your eyes are tested together and then individually by reading 5 characters in different lines.

If you are unable to read the wall chart, you will be asked to look into a vision testing machine for specific objects. The testing machine measures the acuity of your eyes individually and together, even though both eyes are open during the test.

If you do not meet DMV’s vision standard (20/40) you will be required to visit a vision specialist (licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist). The DMV representative will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form to take with you to your appointment. If your vision is not worse than 20/70, DMV may issue you a 30-day temporary driver license to allow you time to have your vision checked.

If you are still unable to meet DMV’s vision standards after your vision is checked, you will be scheduled for a driving test to determine if you can compensate for your vision condition.

Vision Test Tips 

  • If you wear eyeglasses and recently had your prescription changed, bring your new glasses.
  • If you are nervous or confused during any part of the vision test, be sure to let the DMV representative know. 
  • If the vision specialist prescribes new eyeglasses or recommends another type of vision correction, wait until you have the new eyeglasses or until you have completed the recommendations of your optometrist or ophthalmologist before returning to DMV with your completed DL 62 form.

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