On Monday, Sept. 26, the New York State DMV announced with no prior notice to the community that, effective Sept. 28, it was eliminating the current vision test and medical certification requirement for driver’s license renewals that are processed in local DMV offices, by mail and online.
The original purpose of the vision test and medical certification was to ensure that drivers met the appropriate vision requirements in order to safely operate a motor vehicle. With this new policy, drivers need only to personally certify that they meet the minimum 20/40 vision requirements.
County clerks from across the state are calling upon the State DMV to immediately reverse their decision to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
According to Warren County Clerk Pam Vogel, whose office administers the Warren County Department of Motor Vehicles on behalf of the Commissioner, the eye exam performed in the county office is a simple yet important step in the renewal process and has many times alerted the customer to a vision problem.
The elimination of the vision test on a license renewal, under the guise of customer service, is a terribly misguided decision on the part of the New York State DMV. The ramifications of this action — one that impacts both public and personal safety — are broad and disturbing.
It is anticipated that a formal statement of opposition will be issued by the New York State Association of County Clerks.
Many state legislators, law enforcement, and eye care professionals are likewise examining this issue.