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Scarsdale Pizzeria Abuzz Over DMV Eye Test Rule

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale pizzeria owner Nick Stampfl says he’s no fan of the new DMV rule that let’s drivers renew their licenses without taking an eye exam and thinks the rule may get changed.

“It will make me nervous, but I’m a cautious driver, so I’m watching out anyway,” the owner of Villa Roma said. “But they’ll see, once someone gets in a bad accident, that’s when they’ll change that law. Everyone has been talking about that a lot here, everyone thinks it’s ridiculous. Who knows how long that law is going to last.”

He said the law should be modified to take age into consideration.

“I think there should be an age, like around 50 or 60 when you have to test,” he said. “There should definitely be restrictions on it, but I feel that between the ages of 20-30, you shouldn’t really have to test.”

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 .

The "MyDMV" application was said 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 that started Wednesday, drivers can self-certify that they meet vision requirements the same way they do with other medical issues. 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.

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 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 through private agencies and was not voted upon.

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

“I don’t agree with that. Even if you’re not older, there are still a lot of people with bad vision, “ said Peterson Dessalines. “When people have really bad vision, anything can happen, better to have people visiting their [eye] doctor, or more people will put their lives in risk. It makes me a little nervous, but I don’t think it will stay around for a long time. "

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