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S.C. vision tests for drivers not viewed with success

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration stated the obvious when it reported that good vision is part of good driving health. In fact, the NHTSA recommends that all drivers who are at least 60-years-old should receive an annual test for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy to help prevent an auto accident.

South Carolina law requires that drivers take an eye examination every five years or face license suspension. However, drivers are usually unaware of this requirement because the law mandates license renewal only every 10 years. Because of budget constraints, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has not periodically informed drivers of this five-year examination requirement. According to the executive director of the DMV, the state will not take action against drivers failing to take these tests every five years because of an expected public outcry.

Drivers who do not submit an eye-examination certificate from a private doctor to the DMV or appear at the DMV for a vision test at the fifth year of a 10-year license face suspension and a $50.00 fine. The fine may be waived if the driver is tested within 90 days of the five-year deadline. Vision screenings are also required for license renewal at the 10-year period. Drivers who are at least 65-years-old must renew licenses every five years.

Many drivers do not address their vision until the 10-year renewal period expires. Optometrists argue that this period is too long and object to extending eye testing from five to 10 years. In the past, South Carolina required vision testing every two years.

As this issue reveals, distracted or visually impaired drivers are likely to be a hazard on South Carolina roads. A car accident victim may be able to seek compensation from an incapacitated or distracted driver who causes a crash. An accident investigation should commence promptly to obtain evidence or to determine whether there is liability or the factors that may have caused the car crash. An accident victim may have the right to file a lawsuit seeking payment of medical treatment, lost income and other losses suffered in an accident.

Source: The Greenville News, "You could be driving illegally and not know it," Tim Smith, May 3, 2013

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