No changes to the driving license renewal process for over 65s in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
driving license for the over 65s

MADRID – Despite repeated announcements, the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico) has been unable to fulfil its threats to make changes to the driver’s license renewal process for the over 65s. 

For years, the DGT, through its general manager Pere Navarro, has been stirring up concern among drivers over the age of 65 by announcing changes to the driver’s license renewal process. 

The proposed changes mainly related to two aspects as follows:

  • a reduction of the validity periods from 65 years
  • a psychotechnical test

Medical Certificate: Access to Medical History 

Concerning the psycho-technical test, the possibility was considered that the doctor signing the fitness certificate would have access to the medical history of the applicant. This would be particularly in the case of applicants aged 65 and over and the chronically ill. 

Implicit abolition of regulations by elections 

The recent call for early elections following the electoral debacle for the socialist and leftist parties in government means the implicit end of these regulations. This includes the right to oncological oblivion – meaning that the groups concerned can rest easy for the time being about what appeared to be an amendment to the Rules of Procedure that could come into effect at any time. 

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Five-year renewal remains 

Currently, driving licenses for people over 65 are renewed every five years, but the DGT had announced its intention to shorten this period to two years. Consequently, this would most likely result in many more driving licenses not being renewed. 

El Debate argues that, according to statistics, the group of people over 65 registers the least number of traffic accidents. However, their accidents are more serious because of their greater vulnerability. Therefore, this results in a higher fatality rate in road accidents. 

Measure with major social impact 

In any case, this is a measure of great social impact that requires broad consensus for change, involving the DGT as well as driver associations and even relevant medical bodies. 

WHO: The elderly should continue to drive 

A few weeks ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed its support for older people continuing to drive because of the freedom it gives them, preventing them from becoming dependent. Another argument is that it provides them with mental exercise that helps them stay sharp. 

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