When you turn 70 you need to renew your driving licence and continue to do so every three years after that.
A new driving licence at 70 is required because as we age we’re more susceptible to health conditions, some of which could affect driving ability.
It’s easy to apply for a replacement driving licence and here we look at everything you need to know. This includes how to renew a driving licence, driving licence restrictions, where to get a D1 driving licence form, and what this means for your car insurance.
When do I need to renew my driving licence?
You need to renew your UK driving licence when you reach the age of 70 if you want to carry on driving. At this point your licence expires but you’re allowed to carry on driving if you’ve applied to renew it.
How do I renew my licence if I'm over 70?
There are a few different ways to renew your licence.
Renew your photo card licence in person
To renew your driving licence at 70, you need to fill in a D46P application form, which should be sent to you 90 days before your 70th birthday. If you don’t get this you can contact the DVLA driving licence team on 0300 790 6801 and ask for a form.
You could also pick up a D1 driving licence form at your local post office. This is the standard form for applying for a new licence. Simply fill out this form and send it back to the DVLA.
Renew with a paper licence
If you have a paper licence, you need to fill out the form and enclose an up-to-date passport photo. It takes up to three weeks for your DVLA licence renewal if you do it this way, and it’s free of charge.
Renew your licence online
It’s quickest to renew your licence online and it should arrive within one week of your application. It’s also free of charge.
To do this you need:
- An email address
- Addresses of where you’ve lived over the last three years
- Your national insurance number
- A valid UK passport number.
Can I still drive while the DVLA has my licence?
You can drive while your licence is with the DVLA, as long as the following apply:
- Your licence was valid and you weren’t disqualified from driving
- You only drive under the conditions of your old licence (e.g. don’t try and drive a HGV if you’re not licenced to)
- Your application is less than a year old
- Your licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons and your doctor says you’re fine to drive
- You meet the minimum eyesight requirement
- You weren’t disqualified as a high-risk offender on or after the 1st of June 2013.
For more information on this, visit Gov.uk.
I have a health condition: do I have to stop driving?
Having a health condition doesn’t always mean you have to stop driving. But if it’s affecting your ability to drive you must tell the DVLA.
If you don’t let the DVLA know and you have an accident, you could risk prosecution and a fine of £1,000. Your car insurance might be invalid too.
Here are some of the conditions that you need to declare:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Diabetes (if treated with insulin)
- Any condition that affects both eyes or total loss of sight in one eye
- Neurological conditions like epilepsy and seizures.
For an extensive list, visit GOV.UK.
Once you’ve told the DVLA about your health condition, it should assess your ability to drive. This could take up to six weeks.
To determine whether you’re safe to drive the DVLA usually contacts your doctor. Sometimes it might arrange for you to have an examination or take a driving assessment, eyesight or driving test.
Unfortunately, the DVLA could decide that you’re unable to drive due to your health condition. But it might also decide to issue a shorter licence of up to three years, depending on the severity of the illness.
The DVLA could also issue a licence that shows you need special controls added to your vehicle to assist you while you drive.
Should I be driving if my eyesight is poor?
The DVLA standard of vision says a driver should be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away, with glasses or contact lenses if needed.
If you aren’t able to do this then you could be putting yourself and other drivers at risk.
Eye conditions might become more prevalent as you get older, which is why regular checks are advised.
Age UK recommends getting your eyes checked every two years, or as often as your optician advises. Some conditions can often be treated if they’re detected early.
If you’re over 60, you might be able to have these tests for free.
Some sight conditions that can affect the over 60s include:
- Macular degeneration.
As mentioned, you must tell the DVLA if you have a condition that affects your eyesight in both eyes or a total loss of sight in one eye.
If you notice any change in your vision you should consult your optician as soon as possible.
Does my car insurance change if I'm over 70?
Older drivers usually have a few decades’ experience behind the wheel, so their car insurance costs are often below the national average.
According to the Confused.com quarterly price index, 69-year-old drivers faced an average premium of £306 a year in Q2 2021. This is compared to the UK average of £522.
However, this is a competitive market and therefore you should be able to find an affordable policy that meets your needs. It’s well worth comparing different insurers, and policies, before you buy one.
It’s also important to tell your insurer if you’ve had any illness that could affect your ability to drive. For example, if you’ve had a stroke or heart attack.
Although this could affect the premium you pay, if you have an accident and you haven’t told your insurer, your cover might be invalid.
Compare car insurance quotes
What happens if I don’t renew my licence at 70?
As your driving licence expires when you reach the age of 70, if you’ve not renewed it you won’t be legally allowed to drive after your 70th birthday.
If you haven’t received your new licence back, but you’ve submitted it to be renewed, you’re still able to legally drive.
Do I have to retake my driving test at 70?
Although you need to renew your driving licence at 70, you don’t need to take another driving test.
How do I get my driving ability reassessed?
If it’s been a long time since you first passed your driving test, or you feel your driving skills have become a little rusty, it’s possible to have your driving ability reassessed.
These are usually arranged through a local driver assessment scheme or a mobility centre. The Institute of Advanced Motorists, for example, offers a driver assessment for older drivers.
How do I get a Blue Badge for disabled parking?
With a Blue Badgein your car, you’re able to park in designated car parking spaces that are closer to the place you’re going to, such as the supermarket.
You might also be exempt from some parking restrictions such as being allowed to park for free at on-street parking meters and in pay and display bays.
You can apply for a Blue Badge if you or your passenger has severe mobility problems. Check with your local council too, as some have their own rules for Blue Badge holders.
For more information and to apply visit the GOV.UK website.
How much does it cost to renew my licence?
It’s completely free to renew your licence and you shouldn’t ever be charged a fee for this.
How can I readjust to life without being able to drive?
If you’ve stopped driving, for a medical condition or because you no longer want to, it might be a big change adjusting to life without a car.
However this doesn’t mean you need to give up your independence or mobility. You might be entitled to get help with public transport costs, for example, a free bus pass.
AgeUK has a rundown of what’s available for you and how you apply.