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How to renew your driving licence after age 70

How to renew your driving licence after age 70

Once you reach the age of 70, your driving licence will automatically expire. This means that if you want to continue driving after this age, you’ll need to renew it. The main consideration here is ensuring you’re still safe to drive.  

Our guide tells you what you need to know about renewing your driving licence at 70.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 13 JULY 2020

Renewing your driving licence online

Online renewal applications can be made on the Government website. You’ll first need to register to use the online service. Once again, ensure the online forms are fully completed and that you comply with all the requirements. 

Renewing your driving licence by post

Renewing your driving licence is free. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will automatically send you a renewal application form, known as a D46P (or DL1R in Northern Ireland), 90 days before your 70th birthday. The renewal process by post can take up to three weeks. 

If you have a photocard licence – the completed form needs to be returned to the DVLA along with your current licence and a passport style photograph. 

If you have a paper licence – you’ll need to send the completed D46P form, a passport-style photograph and an original document showing proof of your identity (copies are not accepted).

Proof of identity documents could be:

  • your passport
  • an official letter confirming your eligibility for the State Pension
  • a biometric residence permit (identity card) if you’re a foreign national

Can I continue to drive during the renewal process?

In most cases, you can continue to drive as normal while the DVLA considers your renewal application. You cannot continue to drive if:

  • your doctor doesn't think you are fit to drive
  • you yourself think you are not medically fit enough to drive
  • your most recent licence was refused or revoked on medical grounds
  • you did not have a valid licence at the time of your renewal application
  • you have been disqualified from driving
  • the DVLA takes more than 12 months to reach a decision on your renewal application 

What if I have a medical condition?

You’re legally required to inform the DVLA if you develop certain medical conditions or disabilities, and if your health subsequently deteriorates. This applies even if you’ve not reached the age of 70 when you become ill, or if you’re in between three-year renewals when diagnosed.  

Failure to disclose a medical condition that affects your driving could result in a fine of up to £1,000, or even prosecution if you’re involved in an accident as a result of your condition.

The full list of medical conditions that require notifications can be found on the Government website. These include:

  • dementia
  • diabetes requiring insulin treatment
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • epilepsy
  • neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis
  • conditions affecting both eyes, or resulting in total loss of sight in one eye
  • strokes of certain severity
  • cancers of certain severity

Informing the authorities that you have one of these conditions does not mean you’re automatically banned from driving. The DVLA may instead ask you to attend a medical examination so the severity of your condition can be assessed. You may be issued with a short-term, one-year licence, or you may be required to modify your car in some way.  

You may also need to have your driving ability assessed. Driving assessment courses can be taken through a local mobility centre, or by taking an RoSPA Experienced Driver Assessment course

Even if you don’t have a medical condition, a driving assessment course can still be a good idea and could give you peace of mind that your driving skills are still up to scratch.  

You must also inform your car insurance provider without delay. If you have an accident in which an undisclosed medical condition may have played a part, then your car insurance policy could be invalidated and you could even be prosecuted.

What are my eyesight requirements?

Regardless of your age, in order to drive legally in the UK you must meet the following eyesight requirements, with the aid of spectacles or contact lenses, if necessary:

  • you can read a modern car number plate (one made after September 2001) at a distance of 20 metres
  • you have a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale
  • you have an adequate field of vision

Your optician can give you more information and can carry out the necessary tests. These requirements are for car drivers – there are stricter requirements for driving other vehicles, such as lorries or buses.

Can I find cheaper car insurance after the age of 70?

Once you’ve renewed your driving licence, it may also be time to shop around and see if you can get more competitive car insurance quotes for older drivers. 50% of customers could achieve a premium of up to £304 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020** – so there are advantages to being an older driver!

Use our price comparison service and see if you can save money by finding the right car insurance policy for you.

**50% of over 70s could achieve a quote of up to £304 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020.

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