Guest Op-Ed: DMV was wrong to remove eye test

Across the board, New York State has taken steps to increaseefficiency and cut back on waste. At the Department of MotorVehicles, however, officials discussed this sorely needed increasein efficiency by removing an evaluation of one of the basicelements of one’s ability to drive – the ability to see.

Under their proposal, licensed drivers would be able toself-certify that they meet the proper vision requirements whenrenewing their license every eight years, more than enough time fora person’s vision to deteriorate.

This would remove the necessity of reading the eye-chart we havegrown so accustomed to seeing behind DMV counters or having adoctor sign paperwork verifying the driver’s vision meets thestandards to operate a vehicle.

One would not help but feel apprehensive about driving, or evenwalking, on our roads without being assured that drivers are of therequisite physical condition to safely operate an automobile.

During the summer, a woman caused a five-car accident whileattempting to make a U-turn on Third Avenue. Earlier this month,the driver of a truck crossed two lanes before causing a three-carpile-up on Seventh Avenue. And just two weeks ago, 65th Streetexperienced another accident which resulted in a driver being takento the hospital by ambulance.

This is not to say that these accidents could have been preventedby more stringent DMV vision standards – in fact, the primary causeof a number of those accidents was intoxication – but it does showhow dangerous our roads can be. Could we really afford to ignoresuch a vital component of a driver’s ability when determiningwhether he or she is fit to drive?

Fortunately, due to public criticism, the DMV has decided tomaintain the traditional vision testing requirement until furtherevaluation. However, I am prepared to introduce legislation, ifnecessary, to ensure that completing a vision examination remains arequirement when renewing a driver’s license.

It is my hope that the DMV’s moment of clarity regarding thenecessity of vision evaluation is a permanent one, and that thedrivers and pedestrians of Bay Ridge can avoid an unnecessarydanger.

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis represents the 60th A.D. inBrooklyn and Staten Island.

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