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DMV Eliminates Eye Test For Driver's Licenses Renewal

Drivers in New York no longer have to retake eye exams when renewing their licenses due to a new Internet application announced by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles . The "MyDMV" application was created to help shorten waiting times and increase customer service throughout the state.

"These changes will make it easier for New Yorkers to use the Internet or mail to renew their driver’s license and conduct a number of other transactions," DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said.

With the new system, drivers can self-certify that they meet vision requirements the same way they do with other medical issues as of Wednesday. The self-certification of vision requirements only applies to drivers renewing a license every eight years and excludes commercial drivers, who will still undergo medical and vision tests twice a year.

New York State DMV Spokesperson Jackie McGinness said the regulation should have no negative impacts for drivers, citing a period from 1993 to 2000 when vision testing was not required in New York.

"Anyone who goes to the DMV knows the lines can get too long," McGinness said. "I think people will understand that this is a convenience for them."

Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C - Goldens Bridge) said though he understood the desire to speed up the renewal process, drivers could handle the time it takes to test vision.

"A reduction in sight can happen," Castelli said. "Overall, it's a bad idea. Eyesight is imperative to driver safety."

Castelli said the regulation was passed through private agencies and was not voted upon.

Westchester resident Sue Ponte, waiting in line at the Brewster DMV, said, “I think it’s bad enough that people are talking on the phone. I’m constantly engaged in near-misses. Even though I don’t believe government should oversee everything we do, I do think that the eye test is important.”

On The Daily North Salem Facebook page, Gina Santonas said she doesn’t like the idea, asking, “Have you seen the way some old people drive?”

Diane Balch commented, “Even when people have glasses they don’t always wear them.”

The "MyDMV" application also brings the services of changing addresses, receiving email reminders when vehicle registration and inspections are about to expire, downloading and printing driving records and allowing parents to monitor their teens' driving behaviors.

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