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New York state has eradicated its requirement for visio... New York state has eradicated its requirement for vision tests for driver's license renewals (Flickr: .nate)
Starting Wednesday, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles has a new policy that should scare every driver on the road: New drivers don't need to prove they can see.

Yes, you read that right. Anyone can self-certify that he has adequate vision before taking to the roads. No more looking at that pesky eye chart to make sure you can see at least 20 feet away. Nope. In New York -- and as Reuters reports, in six other states -- you just have to pinky-swear you can see before hopping behind the wheel.

New York used to require that people show up every 8 years at the DMV or at their doctor's office to take an eye exam. State Senator Patty Ritchie (R-Ogdensburg), said she's opposed to the new regulations, because many people aren't aware of their deteriorating vision until they're forced to take a vision test. The move is simply a ploy by the cash-strapped state to boost driver license renewals online, she said.

"New York has made great progress in making our roads safer, including a determined effort to crack down on dangerous and distracted driving," said Senator Ritchie, referring to new laws against cell phone use, texting and aggressive driving.

Driver advocacy groups like AAA also oppose the new legislation.

"The most critical faculty for safety when driving is good vision," said AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair. "Because of illness, injury or the natural degradation of eyesight that takes place after age 40, it's important to have regular checkups to ensure good vision. With the new regulations, conceivably, a person could go decades without having their vision checked."

By forcing more folks online, the state doesn't have to share any money with the county clerk. When motorists go to their local DMV, the state gives the county about 12% of the $62.50 license renewal. When it's done online, the county gets zip.

License renewals vary from year to year, but last year there were about 2 million licenses renewed in New York state. If everyone in the state were to renew licenses online or through the mail, the state would keep $15 million in its coffers that would have otherwise gone to county governments.

State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala, who is responsible for the change, said New York State saw statistically no adverse effect on safety between 1993 and 2000, when the state temporarily lifted its eye exam requirements. Then, Gov. George Pataki pushed for the move as a money-saver, and he reinstated the exams in 2000 after pressure from doctors.

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      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree.....this is so stupid ..........................will cost more lives......................what are these legislators thinking?? As bad as Maine upping their speed limit to 75mph (which we know people will drive 5-10mph faster!!) And WHY can't NY enforce the cell phone laws on the highways?? When I am driving tons of people are on their phones and you can always tell the cars are driving sporadically and drift from one side to another in the lane. Thousands are killed EVERY YEAR due to not enforcing this law.....................why not have police in unmarked cars be among the cell phone callers on the road and ENABLE them to ticket?? No one takes the law seriously. LISTENING NEW YORK??
      Heidi Ann
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, that's typical of a stupid decision made by the government. They are so shortsighted, they can't even see the problem with this law. Idiots. What a bunch of doofuses.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My wife is an optometrist. Many, many patients drive to their appointment and are legally blind and not wearing glasses. Welcome to the road....
      • 3 Years Ago
      might as well since most old people need corrective glasses and they use them to take the test but wont wear them to drive. accidents improve the gene pool. why spend the money when the clowns circumvent it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess this means The Eyes Have It ?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only government idiots would do something like this. OK Mr Jones, careful gettin in your car. Dont slam the door on your red tipped cane. What complete fools.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Allowing renewals Online seems dangerous to me. Couldn't a terrorist use someone else's info and get a license that way, or an Illegal?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not only should eye exams be given periodically but older drivers, say after age 70 whuld be given a road test. That includes me, i'm 72.
        • 3 Years Ago
        i've been saying that snce when i turned 60 and up.. i say the same now at age 70.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My father in law was blind, in a nursing home for severe dementia and 91 years old when he died. Six months later the state of Florida sent him a drivers license good for 10 years. Great weather, beautiful palm trees, but very scary.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      New York prepare for the lawsuits. Lawyers get ready to make some money!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      oh thats only for drivers license renewal .
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