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Poll: What Do You Think Of DMV Scrapping Eye-Exams For Most License Renewals?

Change part of effort to expand use of online applications.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has changed the way it handles license applications, including a new online application and scrapping eye tests for most license renewals.

"These changes will make it easier for New Yorkers to use the Internet or mail to renew their driver license and conduct a number of other transactions," said DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala. "By allowing customers to conduct some of their DMV transactions at their leisure, we will also decrease the wait times at the DMV offices for those who need to conduct other transactions which require an in-person visit."

By registering for MyDMV through the DMV Web site (www.dmv.ny.gov), customers are able to:

- Change their address

- Receive e-mail reminders when their vehicle registration and inspection are about to expire

- Download and print a copy of their driving record

- Monitor their teens driving behaviors.

As of Wednesday, the license renewal process has been changed to allow drivers to "self-certify" that they meet the vision requirement necessary to drive as they currently do for other medical issues.  Fiala said this change will allow motorists to easily renew their licenses on the DMV Web site or by mail.

However, New Yorkers obtaining a driver license for the first time will still be required to take a vision test at a DMV office and commercial driver license holders will still be required to undergo bi-annual medical and vision examination by a medical professional.

Fiala said the current vision testing procedure was instituted in 2000 and requires drivers to read a line on an eye chart located behind the DMV counter. From 1993-2000, vision testing was not required in New York and statistics show that there was no negative impact on traffic safety, Fiala said. She contends that allowing vision self-certification on license renewals expands an existing process in which drivers already self-certify they have no driving-related medical issues such as hearing or heart ailments or conditions which lead to unconsciousness.

Six states, including Connecticut and Pennsylvania, do not require eye tests at the time of license renewal, according to the DMV. Eight additional states, including Massachusetts, allow for self-certification of vision adequate for driving.

Mike H September 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM
The DMV is claiming that they are trying to promote online renewals. I saw no problem with the old system where you entered the information from your eye doctor on the site in order to renew. It would take a few days to get the form back from the doctor stating that you had an exam within the last year and other information. Not a big deal to do so if you didn’t want to visit a DMV office. Self-certifying is another example of the lack of common sense by Albany.
Hope Bak September 30, 2011 at 03:24 PM
This should be modified to at least do eye tests on Seniors. CT does not require it and my 90 year old mother just renewed her drivers license for 6 years without an eye test. You need to either test or have a professional certify that the level is adequate as some people will not realize that they have lost skills and are below an acceptable level.
Linda Collins September 30, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Good news ! I am a local Optometrist and I just received an email from the NYSOA that vision test has been reinstated.
William Demarest September 30, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Linda: Thanks for the news. It's true. The DMV is forming a panel to look at what the state needs. Check out our latest story on Patch.
William A. Martone October 01, 2011 at 05:06 AM
Why should drivers need to see? There is no continuing education requirements for drivers, no road test is ever needed after the initial one, there is reduced lighting on highways at night to make it more difficult to see. Why inconvenience drivers with an eye exam?

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