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No Eye Exams With New Driver's License Renewals

OSSINING, N.Y. – At Raymond Opticians in the Arcadian Shopping Center, store managers and several customers did not think it is a good idea that New York drivers no longer have to retake eye exams when renewing their licenses.

"They should have to have an eye exam. It's a matter of public safety," said Brent Posthumus, who was shopping for a pair of eyeglass frames.

Posthumus did not think that people would be responsible about admitting that they are unfit to drive if they are not required to pass an eye exam.

"It's just like a drunk, if you tell them they're drunk, they will say, 'I'm not drunk,'" said Gillman Rebello, another Raymond Opticians customer. "They will say they can see when in reality they can't."

State Department of Motor Vehicles officials said a new online drivers' license renewal application under "MyDMV" was instated to help shorten waiting times and increase customer service throughout the state.

"These changes will make it easier for New Yorkers to use the Internet or mail to renew their driver license and conduct a number of other transactions," DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said.

With the new system, drivers can self-certify that they meet vision requirements the same way as with other medical issues. The self-certification of vision requirements only applies to drivers renewing a license excluding commercial drivers, who will still undergo medical and vision tests twice a year.

New York State DMV Spokesperson Jackie McGinness said the regulation should have no negative impacts for drivers, citing a period from 1993 to 2000 when vision testing was not required in New York.

"Anyone who goes to the DMV knows the lines can get too long," McGinness said. "I think people will understand that this is a convenience for them."

The New York State DMV said that six states, including Connecticut and Pennsylvania, do not require vision tests for license renewals and an additional eight states, including Massachusetts, allow drivers to self-certify vision requirements.

Ken Buelta, a manager at Raymond Opticians, said he does not approve of the new online DMV procedure because all the license renewal application requires is a optician's license number, which can be easily obtained from certificates that are posted on opticians' walls.

"Anyone can go and just write down the license number," Buelta said.

Buelta's son, Kevin Buelta, who also manages the optical shop, agreed.

"You can say you don't need glasses, and you fill out my license number and guess who gets in trouble now – I do, because it's my license number," he said.

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