NewsOperation Safe Roads

Actions

Drivers concerned Arizona licenses don't expire for decades

traffic ABC15
Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 22:42:04-04

It's a law that’s unique to Arizona — drivers don’t have to renew their standard license for several decades.

This means you don’t have to renew your license until you’re 65, even if the rules of the road change.

When ABC15 asked the Arizona Department of Transportation why the renewal requirement was this way and if it could be changed, a spokesperson said they were just following state law.

Valley drivers, though, say something must be done before more people die on the road.

Holly Thompson called into our Operations Safe Roads hotline expressing her concerns about this law.

She says, as a Lyft driver, she sees drivers of all ages who seem confused about the rules of the road.

“No one seems to know the rules of the road. I feel very unsafe. They don't pay attention. They don’t see you signaling. They will rush to a red light,” she told ABC15.

This is why she says something needs to be done.

“I believe that every so often, people should be retested,” added Thompson.

Maria Wojtczak, the owner of DrivingMBA, agrees.

“I don’t feel it’s safe. I think that as we age, there are definitely things that we need to check up on. Like our visual acuity, our cognition skills, and our ability to react to a situation, which is all part of what happens out there," Wojtczak told ABC15.

At DrivingMBA, once you finish the online rules of the road course, you can hop on the simulators and put those skills you just learned to the test.

“We’re looking at visual acuity, we’re looking at their recollection of how well they know what each of the signs mean,” added Wojtczak.

ABC15 reached out to ADOT presenting these concerns.

“We simply have to follow the law,” said Doug Nick with ADOT.

Nick says the law states Arizona driver’s license holders must renew at the age of 65, and every five years after that.

“They’ll have to come in and they’ll generally have to take an eye test and they may or may not have to take a written test, but that’s generally not the case. State law also does require that you come in every 12 years for a new photo. “I don’t know of any other states that have this requirement,” Nick told ABC15.

Here's the exception:

“The [Arizona] Travel ID, the one that has the star, federal law requires it be renewed every eight years. That supersedes state law,” he added.

To put things into perspective, neighboring states like California, Utah, and Colorado require their drivers to renew every five years.

Nick tells ABC15, if people want the law to change, they must take it to legislation.

In the meantime, Nick says you can always brush up on your skills.

“There’s no reason why people can’t review laws,” he said.

Though Wojtczak says that’s not likely to happen if it’s not required by law.

“I can tell you...most people won't voluntarily do it. It would need to be legislated,” said Wojtczak.

“They need to do something and if they don't it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse,” added Thompson.

ADOT has free tests you can take to brush up on your skills.

Questions are taken from the Arizona Driver License Manual.

More information on the examination.