Seniors: How to Surrender Your License

Giving up your driving privileges as a senior driver can be a difficult decision. Below we share some factors to aid your decision, and we'll also explain how to do it if you decide that license surrender is your best course of action.

Considerations for Surrendering Your License

It can be tough to assess yourself when it comes to knowing if driving is no longer a reasonable option. Below are a few indicators to consider when deciding whether or not it's a good idea to continue operating a vehicle as a senior driver:

  • Close calls.
    • If you've had several incidents when a collision was narrowly avoided, it may not be in your best interests to wait until an accident actually happens.
  • Cost.
    • The amount of money it takes to own a vehicle may no longer be worth it—especially if you have other options available.
  • Stress.
    • If you've noticed you have growing anxiety each time you get behind the wheel, it may be better for your overall health and safety to discontinue driving altogether.
  • Traffic violations.
    • Receiving multiple infractions from law enforcement may be a sign that you're having trouble with your concentration and awareness on the road.
  • Health concerns.
    • Certain disabilities, diseases, and prescription medications will make it more difficult to operate a vehicle safely.
    • If you have concerns or notice a change in your ability to drive, it's best to discuss your options with your family doctor.

We've put together a more comprehensive guide to these kinds of warning signs, as well as a discussion of how to have this sensitive and tough conversation with an aging loved one.

Surrendering Your License

Though the process varies slightly according to your state of residence, below are the basic steps to take once you've decided to surrender your license:

  • Schedule an appointment at your local motor vehicle agency.
    • An appointment may or may not be required, but can definitely help reduce your wait time.
  • Apply for an identification card.
    • Any driver who surrenders a driver's license is eligible to apply for a state-issued identification card. You MAY NOT possess a state-issued driver's license and identification card at the same time.
    • As part of the application, you may also be required to prove your identity. Visit our guide to applying for a state ID card for details.
    • You may also be asked to sign some type of surrender form.

Keep in mind that if you later decide you'd like to resume driving, you may be allowed to do so. Additional testing may be required for reissue.

Next Steps for Seniors

Once you've surrendered your license, you'll have to make a few other decisions. Here are some of the things you'll want to do in the following weeks:

  • Cancel your insurance.
    • If you don't plan to drive, remove yourself from your current insurance plan. The money you save will help to offset your new transportation options.
  • Sell your car.
    • If you don't have anyone else at home who will be using your vehicle, selling your car might be a good option to make a little money.
    • For additional help and resources, visit our Selling Your Car section for more information.
  • Find alternative methods of transportation.
    • A few of the transportation options to consider include:
      • Public transportation.
      • Friends or family.
      • Ride sharing.
      • Paratransit services.
    • For more information about transportation options, check out our guide to getting around without a vehicle.

While the decision not to drive may be difficult at first, you'll come to realize that with a little planning, you can still enjoy independence. Remember that safety and your health should always be your first priority when deciding whether or not you should surrender your driver's license.

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