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Pound Ridge Reacts to New DMV Eye Test Regulation

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Drivers in New York no longer have to retake eye exams when renewing their licenses due to a new Internet application announced by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles this week and some Pound Ridge residents don’t think it’s a good idea.

The "MyDMV" application is said to help shorten waiting times and increase customer service throughout the state. Even so, some think safety should trump convenience.

“I feel like they should get an eye test for safety reasons,” said Victor Jimenez, who works at Scotts Corner Market in Pound Ridge. “You never know – senior citizens would be a concern.”

Pound Ridge resident John Jessup said the new regulation wouldn’t apply to him because he has a commercial driver’s license and must take an eye test. He also said the age of the driver should be taken into consideration.

“After a certain age an eye test should be required,” he said. “You should go to a doctor and get a waiver. I’m not dead set against [the new rule], but I don’t understand why they’re doing it.”

DMV officials said it’s because the new procedure makes the renewal process more customer-friendly

"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 as of Wednesday. The self-certification of vision requirements only applies to drivers renewing a license every eight years 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."

Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C - Goldens Bridge) said he wasn’t in favor of the new rule. Although he understood the desire to speed up the renewal process, he said drivers could handle the time it takes to test vision.

"A reduction in sight can happen," Castelli said. "Overall, it's a bad idea. Eyesight is imperative to driver safety."

Castelli said the regulation was passed through private agencies and was not voted upon.

The "MyDMV" application also brings the services of changing addresses, receiving email reminders when vehicle registration and inspections are about to expire, downloading and printing driving records, and allowing parents to monitor their teens' driving behaviors.

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