When do I need to retake my driving test?

It’s a common misconception that you need to retake your driving test, particularly after a certain age. While there are some instances where you may have to, in most cases there are a number of steps you may need to take with the DVLA (Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority) instead, and it is rare that you need to retake your driving test. This month we take a look at those instances and what you need to do in others where the DVLA needs to be kept informed of a change in your circumstances.

Reaching the age of 70

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to retake your test. When you reach the age of 70 your licence does expire. However, you simply need to renew it with the DVLA. There is no legal age limit at which you must stop driving. It is up to you to determine whether you are fit enough to do so.

About three months before your 70th birthday, the DVLA will write to you with a D46P licence renewal application. Either complete and return this or use their online service – and that’s it! There is no fee for renewing.

If you have an additional entitlement on your licence, such as for driving minibuses or towing vehicles, you will need to include a medical examination report from a doctor to support your renewal application.

You will need to renew your licence every three years once you have reached the age of 70.

Medical conditions

There are a number of medical conditions which may mean that you can no longer drive. Depending on the circumstances, you can either surrender your licence voluntarily or it can be revoked or refused on medical grounds. If you are then able to drive after a period of time, you can reapply for your licence once your doctor says that you meet the necessary medical requirements. If you surrender it voluntarily then you can drive while it is being renewed, provided you have the support of your doctor, you had a previous valid licence, and you are not disqualified. Check the DVLA’s site for full details.

Driving disqualifications

If you have been banned – i.e. disqualified – from driving for more than 56 days, then you must reapply for your licence. Depending on the court’s decision at the time of your conviction, you may need to also retake your driving test, or undertake an extended driving test before you can get your full licence back.

If your ban was for less than 56 days, then you can drive again once it has ended without having to reapply for your licence.

Upgrading from an automatic vehicle licence

If your licence is for an automatic car and you want to upgrade to a manual one, then you will need to take a driving test. However, you will not need to re-sit the theory test, nor will you need to apply for a provisional licence.

For more detailed advice on driving tests or to book your first lesson, get in touch with our team of instructors at Lanes School of Driving. We have been keeping people safe on the road for over 100 years and you could be next. Just give us a call on 020 8166 5678 with any questions or to book your next lesson.