ALBANY — As many as 95,000 New Yorkers face the suspension of their driver's licenses on Dec. 1 because they failed to submit proof that they passed a vision test — a lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
A measure adopted during the pandemic allowed motorists to defer — but not skip — the vision test requirement for renewing their licenses. It applied to drivers whose licenses expired between March 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021, the height of the pandemic, to limit crowds at DMV offices.
On Monday, those drivers who still haven’t submitted proof of passing the eye exam will start to get emails and letters warning that their licenses could be suspended on Dec. 1. DMV spokesman Walter McClure said the cases are spread evenly throughout the state.
The messages state that the driver’s license and driving privileges would be “suspended effective” Dec. 1 and that a passing vision test result is due to the DMV no later than Nov. 26 to avoid the suspension. The state notes it could take up to five business days for the test result to be processed.
Drivers who receive the notice can visit a business on the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ Vision Registry, such as a pharmacy or eye care provider, or use an online test provider. The DMV’s Vision Registry is available at dmv.ny.gov/vision-registry-locator. It will provide locations nearby that provide the service, which may require drivers to pay a fee.
Motorists also may receive eye tests from certain health professionals not in the DMV registry, such as a physician, physician assistant, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, optician, optometrist, ophthalmologist, or supervised staff of any of those professionals. The practitioners must complete a form, MV-619, which is available on the DMV website.
Drivers also may receive an eye test from a qualified DMV worker at a motor vehicles office by bringing the letter or email they receive. DMV offices can be found at dmv.ny.gov/offices.
To pass the DMV test without being required to wear glasses or contact lenses, drivers must have 20/40 vision or better in at least one eye without wearing corrective lenses.
“If you drive while your license or driving privilege is suspended, unless you receive a restricted license/privilege from DMV, you may be charged with and convicted of a crime and be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment,” the DMV message states.
This isn’t the first notification. The DMV issued a similar warning in April. More than 73,000 drivers have complied since then, according to the DMV. At its height earlier this year, nearly 150,000 drivers risked suspension.