Driving & Transportation
Many changes that come with age can affect the ability to drive. It seems like only yesterday that you were thrilled by the freedom of getting behind the wheel and driving for the first time! Now, you may need transportation options for a variety of reasons.
Rhode Islanders who are 72 years old will be required to renew their license at age 75. (License expirations will be prorated to expire at age 75.) After age 75 years old or older, you must renew your driver’s license every two years.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) has created a website dedicated to Senior drivers. The information at SeniorDriving.AAA.com is free and does not require you to enter a membership number. The website provides a variety of information to help Seniors stay safe on the road including a self assessment. Information is provided regarding the difference between a Driving Skills Evaluation done by a AAA approved driving school and a Clinical Assessment conducted by an Occupational Therapist Driving Rehabilitation Specialists (OT-DRSs).
If you’re not sure if it is time to stop driving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created an excellent series of videos on different age related changes and how they may affect your ability to drive. They have also created 11 videos that address how specific medical conditions may affect the ability to drive.
Rhode Island Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Services offers the Pre-Driving Clinical Evaluation Program. The program assesses driving skills that may be impacted by aging or illness. A referral from your doctor or the DMV is required, a recent eye exam, and completion of intake information before your appointment. You should also ask if the assessment is covered under your insurance. Under HIPPA, RIH Rehab will only contact the DMV if they were the source of referral for the test, or with the client’s request and written permission. In all other circumstances, a copy of the evaluation goes only to the referring MD, and to the patient/client him or herself if requested in writing.
Try to remember:
- Your family or friends can express their concerns to your doctor, the Senior Citizen Police Advocate in your city or town, or Department of Motor Vehicles if they think you are unsafe to drive.
- The decision to stop driving can be yours alone, you and your family’s choice, a decision between you and your doctor, you and the police or there may be a hearing with you and the DMV.
7 Questions for Safe Driving
- Can you easily and quickly move your foot from the gas to the brake?
- Are you able to look over your shoulder to check for cars on either side of you?
- Do you have trouble seeing? Is your vision worse at night?
- Have you had a few “fender benders”?
- Do you sometimes get lost or forget where you were going?
- Do you have trouble hearing the sounds of sirens or children playing in the street?
- Do other drivers often appear to be angry with you by honking and gesturing?
Some cities and towns offer transportation for Seniors in the community. Proof of residency may be required. Transportation may be to medical appointments, shopping or other destinations. Check under your city or town for more information.
Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA)
269 Melrose St
Providence, RI 02907
784-9500, X 604
Regardless of income, anyone age 65 and over, or persons with a disability, may be issued a photo identification card that allows them to pay half-price weekdays 9am to 3pm. Full fare is charged during peak hours weekdays 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm.
- RIPTA offers a reduced fare bus pass for low-income Seniors (age 65 and over) and individuals with disabilities. An application is required for the Reduced Fare Bus Pass Program for Seniors. If approved, a pass will be issued for two years. The pass is a photo identification that costs $10 for new customers and $10 each time it is renewed. A $20 fee is charged if a photo id card becomes, lost stolen or damaged.
- RIPTA also offers a Flex Service van in areas of the state that have little or no fixed-route service. Riders can board at a scheduled stop or make reservations 24 hours in advance if choosing their own pick-up or drop-off point. The Flex van will pick you up at the curb of the address you specify. You can get off anywhere in the Flex Zone. The cost is the same as a regular bus fare.
- As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit Services, RIPTA also offers the Ride Program (401-461-9670) for individuals of any age who have a disability that prevents them riding a fixed-route bus. The Ride fare is $4.00 for each way of the trip. A RIde application is required that includes a Health Care Provider Assessment and Verification. RIPTA has created an ADA Paratransit User Guide to help riders understand how to use the service, the rider & driver responsibilities, when and why services can be suspended and how to provide input on the services.
The RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services oversees the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) coordinated by Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM). MTM Website 1-855-330-9131
- The Elderly Transportation Program provides NEMT for people who are 60 (or older) or who have a disability and are NOT on Medicaid and do NOT use RIPTA’s Ride program. NEMT is available for medical appointments, kidney dialysis, cancer treatment, wound care, adult day services, to senior Café meal sites (only between 10am-2pm) and participants of INSIGHT for the Blind. Reservations are required 2 business days before your appointment. The cost is $2 each way. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
- MTM also provides NEMT to Medicaid members who cannot drive themselves and have no other person who can provide transportation for them. Modes of transportation may be: Bus, multi-passenger car or van, wheelchair van, stretcher vehicle, or non-emergency Basic (or Advanced) Life Support vehicle.
NEMT Medicaid is available for FREE to go to a Medicaid approved provider to receive a Medicaid covered service, or adult day services, or are participants of INSIGHT for the Blind. NEMT Medicaid members must pay $2 each way to go to senior Café meal sites (only between 10am-2pm). Reservations are required 2 business days before your appointment.
American Cancer Society Road to Recovery
American Cancer society will provide transportation for free to people who have medical appointments in relationship to the cancer diagnosis. It can take several business days to coordinate your ride, so please call well in advance of your appointment date. Contact them to find out what is available in your area, and what the specific requirements are.