SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said Wednesday that the state is recommending making driving tests for seniors mandatory at age 79 instead of the current 75.

Giannoulais said Illinois is the only state in the country that requires elderly drivers to be tested on a regular basis.

“As Secretary of State, road safety is a top priority of mine,” Giannoulias said. “Statistics show that seniors are among the safest drivers of any age category. This change would make Illinois driving standards for senior drivers more consistent compared to other states while keeping Illinois as one of the strictest states for license renewals.”

According to Giannoulias, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s data for 2022 showed virtually no difference in crash rates for senior drivers than younger drivers.

“AARP applauds Secretary Giannoulias’ recommendation to permanently reduce the number of older drivers subject to age-based license renewals,” said Ryan Gruenenfelder, Senior Manager of Outreach and Advocacy for AARP Illinois. “Though AARP maintains age alone is not determinative of driving performance, this is a step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Giannoulias to identify policy solutions that assess all drivers’ ability to be safe on the road.”

Current Illinois law would remain unchanged when it comes to renewing drivers for other age groups:

  • All drivers below the age of 81 must renew their licenses every four years.
  • Drivers aged 79 and 80 must take a vision and driving test (if their four-year renewal is up during this time period).
  • Drivers aged 81 to 86 must take a vision and driving test every two years.
  • Drivers aged 87 and older must take a vision and driving test every year.

The Illinois General Assembly raised the age of driving tests from 75 to 79 during the COVID-19 pandemic. That rule is set to expire on October 1st, 2023.

Giannoulias has recommended that the General Assembly make the rule permanent immediately.