ALBANY, N.Y.—Starting Wednesday, the New York State DMV is no longer requiring eye tests for drivers seeking to renew their license. The DMV says it's effectively streamlining the renewal process. But, not everyone thinks it's a good idea.
"The crazy part is they'll be standing in front of us and they'll no longer have to take that eye test," said Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola. "We'll just say, ‘Your vision is ok?' and they'll check the box and we'll renew that eye test, whether they can read that eye-chart or not."
A big concern over the so-called "self-certify" process is the deteriorating vision of older drivers, but it's not just that group to worry about.
"We see people in here every day that fail that eye test, not just the elderly," said Merola. "We have people in their mid-20's and 30's that the fail that eye test."
New York State didn't require eye tests from 1993 to 2000 and says there was no negative impact to traffic safety. Aside from the self-certify option, the state is creating an Internet application called "MyDMV" so customers can do business online.
DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala released a statement saying: "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."
Six states currently do not require eye tests and New York joins eight others in allowing for self-certification.
"It's only going to take one major accident to pull this back and know that we made a real mistake here," said Merola.
First-time applicants must still pass the eye test before receiving their license and anyone found lying on their renewal can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for filing a false instrument.