Vision Testing Laws

The new law will affect more than 216,000 motorists in the Sunshine State.

Florida leads the nation in the number of elderly drivers killed in car crashes.

But safety officials hope a new law will help. It requires people 80 and older to take a vision test before they can renew their license.

Motorist Kevin Ozbolt thinks it's a good idea. He's had some personal experience with the problem.

“My grandmother, she was in a wreck one time and it was because of her vision.
She couldn't see real good, so she had to quit driving because of that,” Ozbolt shares.

Until now. Motorists could go 18 years before they had to renew their licenses in person and submit to an eye exam. Florida has more drivers over age 90 than any other state, and the concern was too many of them really shouldn't be on the road.

We asked highway safety officials if they've seen any rush of senior drivers trying to circumvent the new law and renew their licenses early.

But so far the answer is no.

“We have not seen any evidence of that. The renewals seem to be running about normal,” explains Bob Sanchez of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Sanchez says the new law does more than require vision tests. It includes a study to find better ways of keeping seniors mobile once they give up their keys.

“Sometimes public transportation doesn't extend to rural areas in some case, and some of Florida's retirement communities have sort of spread out in ways that don't really lend themselves to efficient public transportation,” adds Sanchez.

The hope is the law will lead to improved transportation for seniors as well as safer roads.

The law also requires anyone renewing his or her license in person to submit to a vision test, no matter what their age.