Driving comes with so many responsibilities. Because of the duties that come along with it, not everyone is given the opportunity to drive. A person has to meet a specific set of standards to qualify for a driver's license. One of the most important among these requirements is the quality of the applicant's vision.
When on the road, the driver is not only responsible for his/her wellbeing, he/she is also responsible for his/her passengers, the pedestrians, and the other drivers. Lives and properties are on the line, that is why a driver must meet the minimum vision requirement to ensure the safety of everyone.
Like everything that is related to driving, the responsibility of making sure that the California applicants for a DL (Driver License) meets the qualifying standards is given to the state's local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). The DMV has to ensure that the applicant qualifies for the standard “visual acuity” or the ability to see items clearly and sharply and to recognize small details. He/she must have:
- 20/40 or better with both eyes tested together, and
- 20/40 or better in one eye and at least 20/70 in the other eye.
During the visual screening, the applicant will be asked to read an eye chart. He/she can wear any prescribed corrective lenses during the entirety of the test.
Whatever happens during the tests can affect the DMV's decisions. The outcomes of the evaluation can result to:
- Granting or Denial of DL
- Granting of DL with restrictions
Restrictions may include:
- Requiring corrective lenses
- Requiring the driver to not drive on certain conditions (certain time of day or weather conditions)
- Short term licenses.
Failure to meet the standards: DL62
If one failed to meet the vision screening standard he/she will be given a form – DL 62. DL 62 is the Report of Vision Examination form. This will be accomplished and signed by a licensed eye doctor and will be reevaluated by the DMV. However, this does not ensure an automatic DL grant, the Department has to take a lot of factors into consideration like:
- The severity of the condition,
- Will the condition continuously get worst,
- Will the condition be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery, or
- Are both eyes affected (legally blind in one eye).
Monovisions and Bioptic Lenses
A consideration can be given to visually impaired drivers, one who is legally blind in one eye, as long as he/she meets the “minimum visual acuity” standards. Under the directive of California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a driver must have a minimum of visual acuity of at least 20/200 in one eye, with or without correction.
A person with one working eye (monovision) will have to get the approval of a medical professional and accomplish the DL 62 for the reevaluation. He/she should meet the 20/200 minimum standard for visual acuity for the working eye without having any corrective lenses. However, he/she may utilize the aid of a prescribed bioptic telescopic lens while taking the SDPE (Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation). The results of the test may determine whether or not the applicant is denied or approved with/without restrictions.
Bioptic lens/es is the device commonly used to aid visual impairment, especially people with monovisions. These are telescopic lenses that suffice the needed depth perception for the single working eye in adjusting to a level of vision that a person with two eyes has. This is seen as a great help to people with visual impairment because it helps them adjust to doing things that a person with only one eye can do.
The DMV holds hearings regarding the application of licenses, it can be a good outlet for filing appeals to reconsider an application. The applicant can stand for himself/herself in the hearings however, it would be better if he/she is represented by an attorney. A lawyer can make a case regarding the application to help the approval of the license in Orange County or any other county in the State of California.
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