Why does the DMV have you cover one eye while testing?: Roadshow


Q: Why does the DMV have you cover one eye while taking the test? To my knowledge, most people drive with both eyes open. I ask this because my eyes aren’t equal in how well I see out of them. I almost didn’t get my license renewed because my left eye is worse than my right eye.

Linda Johnson, San Jose

A: Yours is a simple question with a long answer. The DMV’s vision screening standard is: 20/40 with both eyes tested together or 20/40 in one eye and at least 20/70 in the other eye.

You may wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the minimum standard, but you cannot wear a bioptic telescopic or similar lens. The DMV cannot license drivers who do not meet the minimum standard.

Several factors about your overall vision are considered. They include:

•  The severity of your condition

•  How your condition affects your central and side vision

•  If your vision condition affects one or both eyes.

•  If your vision can be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery

•  Whether your vision is likely to get worse

If you have monovision, you may not be able to meet the DMV’s vision screening standard. Monovision is one eye treated or untreated for distance by surgery or contact lenses, and one eye treated or untreated for close-up vision.

You will be referred to an eye doctor if your vision does not meet the DMV’s standard. You will also be given a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form for your eye doctor to complete and sign. When you return to the DMV with the completed form, your vision will be retested. You will also have to take a driving test to demonstrate that you can drive safely, even though your vision is impaired.

Your license may be restricted. Common restrictions are “Restricted to wearing corrective lenses” or “Restricted to driving during daylight hours only.” Other restrictions are possible.

Q: I followed a car the other day that had its left blinker on for mile after mile, regardless of lane changes. The driver finally exited to the right with his left blinker still on. Why can’t the auto industry place a timer on directional signals? One minute? Two minutes? The only thing that directional signals tell me is that they work.

Barry Gordon, Monte Sereno

A: Newer cars have louder blinker sounds, making it harder for drivers to overlook them.


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