Driving Privileges

Is driving a right or a privilege?

Although it is difficult to imagine not being able to drive, under the law, driving is a not a right. In Utah, the Department of Public Safety’s Driver License Division oversees and issues driver’s licenses. The Division can revoke, suspend, or restrict your driver’s license if you are no longer able to drive.

What if I become impaired?

In Utah, if you have developed an impairment that affects your ability to drive safely, the law says you must not drive. You should also report this condition to your doctor and the Driver License Division.

What if I know someone with an impairment who should not be driving?

If you know someone who is impaired and believe that person would be a danger on the road, you can file an unsafe driver report with the Driver License Division. The Driver License Division will not disclose your identity to the person you report.

You cannot file a report to annoy, intimidate, or harass a person. If the Division thinks you are filing a false report to harass someone, you may be charged with a crime.

After the report is filed, the Driver License Division will review it and may ask the person you reported to come in for written, vision, and skills tests. The Driver License Division may also require the person to be evaluated by a doctor or specialist. 

What if the Division wants me to take a new driver’s test?

If you are in an accident or get a ticket, the Division may have good cause to believe you should not be driving. If the Division believes you are no longer able to drive, you may need to take a new driver’s test. The Division will send you a notice if they believe you need to be tested. If you refuse to take the new test, your license may be suspended or revoked.  For more information, see Utah Code § 53-3-221(11).

What is the driver’s test like?

The test has 3 parts: an eye exam, a written test, and the actual driving test. Only you and the examiner can be in the car during the driving test.

Try to relax during the driving test and always be polite. If during the test the examiner asks you to do something you think is unsafe, don't do it and explain why. Two common reasons for failing a driving test are improper lane changes and reverses (not looking behind you).

What happens if I fail the driving test?

If you fail the test because of a medical condition, the Driver License Division can revoke or restrict your license. Some examples of a restricted license might include:

  • allowing you to drive only during daylight hours,
  • not allowing you to drive on the freeway, or
  • only allowing you to drive close to your home.

The Division may also refuse to issue you a driver’s license, and instead only issue you a learner's permit. A learner’s permit requires a licensed driver to be with you in the car. Finally, the Division might make you take a driver’s education course.

What if I disagree with the Driving License Division’s decision?

If you disagree with a decision the Driving License Division made, you can appeal it. To appeal, you must send a letter to the Division asking for a review. The letter must be sent within 10 days of receiving the decision.  Generally, when you ask for an appeal, your decision is reviewed by a Hearing Officer.

If you were denied because of a medical problem, a panel created by the Division will review your decision. They may ask you to come and answer questions about your medical condition. You can appeal the panel’s decision if you disagree with it.

Once you have completed the appeal process with the Division, if you are still unhappy, you can file an appeal in court. For more information, see Utah Code § 53-3-224 and Utah Code § 53-3-303.

Where can I find a driver safety course?

AARP offers a driver safety course. Often the course is provided with the help of local senior citizen centers.  You can take the course online or in a classroom.  To find more information about the course, visit AARP’s website at www.aarp.org. Most insurance companies give senior citizens a discount if they take a driver safety course.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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