NYSOA Helps To Shut Down New Drivers License Policy

NYSOA teams up with advisory group of health to put brakes on new policy allowing drivers to renew license without vision assessment in New York.

By: Antonio Chirumbolo SUNY 2013

On September 26th 2011, the New York sate DMV implement a new policy (click here for NYS press release) that would eliminate the requirement for a vision assessment for renewing a driver’s license. Under the new policy, visual abilities would be self assessed. This means drivers could say goodbye to the law that a drivers best corrected visual acuity must be 20/40 or better in one or both eyes but not less than 20/70 to operate a motor vehicle.

Shockingly, adequate vision for driving would be based on if a driver merely felt his or her visual abilities were sufficient to operate a motor vehicle. One of the proposed intentions of the DMV was to expedite the laborious renewal process. However, since it’s implementation, the new policy was met with extreme backlash from a health advisory group composed in part of the NYSOA and other health profession groups. Due to the extreme resistance from  professional organizations like the NYSOA, Governor Cuomo and has put the new policy on hold for further deliberation. (Click here for official announcements from NYSOA)

Vision is an essential component of safe driving. There is no logical justification to allow a person with insufficient visual abilities due to a congenital or acquired visual deficiency to put his or her safety and the safety of others in jeopardy merely because he or she is unaware of the visual deficit, or perhaps just overly confident in his/her reduced state of vision. We can only hope that this policy remains rescinded.

As a side note to optometry students, this goes to show you how fast things can change overnight and this is why it is important to support your state optometric association.

By: Antonio Chirumbolo SUNY 2013

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