Albany, NY – New York is about to drop its requirement that motorists take an eye test when they renew their drivers licenses. Beginning Wednesday, the state Department of Motor Vehicles will let customers “self-certify” that they meet the vision requirements to drive, Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said in a prepared statement.
People getting licenses for the first time still will have to take a vision test and commercial drivers license holders still will have to undergo medical and vision exams every other year, officials said. By dropping the requirement that motorists read a line on an eye chart behind a DMV counter, the department can let drivers easily renew their licenses by mail or over the Internet, Fiala said. The department lets drivers self-certify for other medical issues, Fiala said.
New York did not require an eye test between 1993 and 2000 and statistics indicate there was not a negative affect on safety then, she said. Traffic safety improved after 2000, but it’s uncertain whether that could be attributed to the vision requirement and not also to tougher laws against driving while intoxicated, new rules against driving while using a cell phone and greater enforcement of seat belt use, among other factors, said Jackie McGinnis, speaking for DMV.
Six other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania and Connecticut, do not require vision tests when renewing licenses, Fiala said. In another step to help customers do business with DMV, the department has rolled out a new Internet application called “My DMV.”
The application lets customers create personal accounts so they can change addresses, receive email reminders that their registrations or inspections are nearly expired, download copies of their driving records and keep an eye on their teenagers’ driving behavior, officials said.
Drivers can sign up for My DMV at www.dmv.ny.gov. The site also lets visitors access more than 40 other transactions and services that do not require a My DMV account.