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Greenburgh Residents Find DMV Change "Not Safe"

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Greenburgh resident Greg Tompkins said he doesn’t like the idea that New Yorkers no longer have to pass a vision test in order to renew their driver’s licenses every eight years.

“I want to know that everybody can see just as well as me,” Tompkins said.

The New York Sate Department of Motor Vehicles announced that New York drivers no longer have to retake eye exams when renewing their licenses due to a new Internet application called “MyDMV.”

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

"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," said Barbara J. Fiala, commissioner of the New York State DMV.

Jakie McGinness, spokesperson for the state DMV, 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 though he understood the desire to speed up the renewal process, 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 within the agency 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.

Tompkins, who has a car, agrees that the new system is more convenient, but said that convenience isn’t the most important.

“It’s convenient, but it’s not safe,” he said, adding that he wouldn't mind taking the test.

Sally Dickens was another Greenburgh resident who said that she'd rather the state continue requiring the eye exam.

"As long as they don't make you wait the whole day," she said.

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