California


Driver licensing agency
contact information
California Department of Motor Vehicles
2415 First Avenue, Mail Station C152
Sacramento, CA 95818-2698
www.dmv.ca.gov
916 657-6550
Licensing Requirements
Visual acuity











Visual fields
Color vision requirement
Type of road test





Restricted licenses
Each eye with correction



Both eyes with correction
If one eye blind—other with/without correction

Absolute visual acuity minimum



Are bioptic telescopes allowed?
Minimum field requirement
None
The Driving Performance Evaluation (DPE) is administered for original licensing and for some experienced impaired drivers (eg, drivers with vision problems). For other experienced impaired drivers (eg, drivers with cognitive deficits), the Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE) is administered.
A variety of restrictions are available—most commonly for corrective lens wearers.
Screening standard: One eye 20/70 if other is 20/40. Failure to meet standard results in referral to vision specialist and possible road test.
20/40 (also a screening standard)
20/40 (with road test given unless it is a stable, long-standing condition)
Better than 20/200, best corrected, in at least one eye. Cannot use
bioptic telescopes to meet
standard.
Yes, for daylight driving only.
None
Licensing Renewal Procedures
Standard







Age-based renewal procedures
Length of license validation
Renewal options and conditions


Vision testing required at time of renewal?
Written test required?
Road test required?

No renewal by mail at age 70 and older.
5 years
In-person or (if applicant qualifies) mail renewal for no more than 2 license terms in sequence.
Yes, at in-person renewal
Yes, at in-person renewal
Only if there is significant evidence of driving impairment.
Reporting Procedures
Physician/medical reporting




Immunity


Legal protection
DMV follow-up



Other reporting

Anonymity
Physicians are required to report all patients diagnosed with ‘disorders characterized by lapses of consciousness.’ The law specifies that this definition includes Alzheimer’s disease ‘and those related disorders that are severe enough to be likely to impair a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle.’ Physicians are not required to report unsafe drivers. However, they are authorized to report, given their good faith judgment that it is in the public’s interest.
Yes, if the condition is required to be reported. (A physician who has failed to report such a patient may be held liable for damages.) If the condition is not required to be reported, there is no immunity from liability.
Only if the condition is required by law to be reported.
The medical information obtained from the physician is reviewed by DMV hearing officers within the Driver Safety Branch. The driver is reexamined; at the conclusion of the process, the DMV may take no action, impose restrictions, limit license term, order periodic reexaminations, or suspend or revoke the driver's license.
The DMV will accept information from the driver him or herself, courts, police, other DMVs, family members, and virtually any other source.
If so requested, the name of the reporter will not be divulged (unless a court order mandates disclosure).
Medical Advisory Board
Role of the MAB


MAB contact information
The MAB gathers specialists for panels on special driving related topics (eg, vision). These panels develop policy recommendations for the DMV regarding drivers with a particular type of impairment. No recommendations are made regarding individuals as such.
The MAB no longer meets as a group.
For further information regarding the role of the MAB, contact:
Post Licensing Policy
California Department of Motor Vehicles
2415 First Avenue, Mail Station C163
Sacramento, CA 95818-2698
916 657-5691


Table of Contents