New York drops eye test for driver's license renewal

The DMV office in Western Lights Plaza / photo: Jessica Cain

New York is dropping its requirement for vision tests to make it easier for drivers to renew licenses online or by mail.

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala said in a statement Monday that the change is one of several stemming from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for streamlining by state agencies. Another change is a new Internet application, "MyDMV," which allows customers to set up personal online accounts to do business with DMV.

Starting Wednesday, drivers will "self-certify" that they meet the vision requirement when they renew. New licenses and commercial licenses will still require eye tests at a DMV office or by a doctor.

Officials say they hope the new policy will help people avoid lines at the DMV.

"I am pleased that we have been able to respond to Governor Cuomo's call that State agencies identify and change procedures that are outdated, could be streamlined or could be transacted online," said Fiala in a statement to the media. "We anticipate that these actions will not only be a great convenience for our customers but will also allow us to provide better customer service to New Yorkers who must come into DMV offices for more complicated transactions."

Some people visiting the Syracuse DMV say they think it's a good idea.

"You don't have to sit there in a big old line, so I think it's easier," says Anthony Jackson, who was visiting the DMV on Tuesday.

Although, some others think the eye tests are necessary.

"I don't think it's a good idea because vision changes, and I think a vision test needs to be done," says Patricia Williams.

Fiala said vision testing wasn't required in New York from 1993-2000, and she says it didn't have a negative impact on traffic safety. Six other states don't require eye tests for renewals.

Do you agree with the DMV's decision to drop eye tests from driver's license renewals as a matter of speed and convenience? Or do you think eye tests are necessary? Leave a comment below and give us your opinion.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.