The New York DMV has dropped the eye test requirement for drivers, raising concerns about elderly drivers.

This cannot be a good idea … NY is dropping the eye test for drivers. At a time when I am seeing many more cases involving elderly drivers – drivers in their 70s and 80s – involved in bad car crashes, does NY really think it’s a good idea to eliminate an eye test that might be the most effective tool for identifying when an elderly person might need to stop driving?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly have nothing against elderly drivers and I think a person should be permitted to drive so long as they are mentally and physically capable of doing so. But I do worry that eliminating this test will have the effect of failing to catch those drivers whose failing eyesight is causing them to be a deadly danger to others.

I understand the test was eliminated to encourage more people to be able to renew their licenses online, and I am all in favor of the cost-savings and convenience of online licensing. But I wonder if it might have been a better compromise to eliminate the eye test for drivers under a certain age – say 65 – but keep the eye test requirement for drivers over that age. Just an idea ….

Click here for the WETM-TV report.

Here is the story from The Associated Press:

Albany, N.Y. (AP) – 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 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 Sept. 28, 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.

Fiala said vision testing wasn’t required in New York from 1993-2000, and six other states don’t require eye tests for renewals.

And reaction from across the state shows many people agree with me!


  • County clerks from across the state are critical of the DMV’s short-sighted decision and want the decision reversed!
  • From WHAM-TV in Rochester and Fox23 News in Albany: Residents see the dangers, too!
  • A state lawmaker in the Syracuse area strongly opposes the change.
  • And a downstate ophthalmologist calls it a “terrible idea.”

Residents of Elmira, Corning and Twin Tiers, let your state lawmakers know what you think about this today!

Thanks for reading.


James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607) 733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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