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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Driving for older people

Getting around can become an issue as you get older. There are extra requirements if you wish to continue driving. There are also options if you can no longer drive yourself.

If you have difficulty walking or need help, you may be able to get a mobility parking permit. This will allow you to use mobility parking spaces.

Driving safely

As you get older, you are more likely to have a medical condition. You are also more likely to be on medication. Both of these can affect your ability to drive. Your healthcare provider can give you advice on how your health conditions or medicines could affect your driving.

To help decide if you are still safe to drive, you can complete a self-rating assessment. There is a specific assessment to use if you have been diagnosed with dementia.

You may also wish to undertake a Staying Safe Driving Course offered by Age Concern. Or an AA Senior Driver Coaching Session.

You may be concerned about someone else’s driving ability. If so, the NZTA's Supporting Seniors Drivers booklet has advice on how to approach this. If the person you are concerned about has dementia, there is advice on the NZTA's Dementia and driving page.

Driving Medical Certificate

Once you reach the age of 75 you will need to get a medical certificate to renew your drivers license. You will need to repeat this at age 80, then every 2 years.

You will need to see your regular doctor to get your certificate.

During your appointment, your doctor will discuss your state of health. They will also examine you and test your eyesight. They will then recommend whether you are:

If your doctor has concerns about your ability to drive, they may refer you for a driver assessment. The assessment will be done by an occupational therapist.

Other transport options

If you cannot drive, there are a variety of options to enable you to keep doing the things you want. Not driving does not mean you have to lose your independence or freedom.

Driving and maintaining a car costs a lot of money each year. The money saved if you give up your car can provide a lot of trips with alternative options including taxis.

Age concern provides a free Life Without a Car course to help you plan and adjust to no longer driving.

The SuperGold Card gives you free off-peak public transport as well as other discounts.

The Total Mobility Scheme provides discounted taxi fares if you have difficulty using public transport.

A mobility scooter can be a useful option for getting around your local area. You do not need a drivers licence to use one.

The following services may provide transport to help you get to appointments. Some are free, others ask for a fee or donation.

Some organisations that provide services and run programmes can pick you up and take you home afterwards. Ask the organisation if they provide this service. Organisations that may provide a pick-up service include Blind Low Vision NZ and Dementia Canterbury.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2024.


See also:

Safe driving in early dementia

Transport and parking

Page reference: 48279

Review key: HIDAT-48279