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South Carolina Adds Vision Test Requirement to License Renewal

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From strengthening penalties for distracted driving to tightening restrictions on teen drivers, states around the nation are looking for ways to make their roads safer. For many reasons, auto fatalities are up in some states, and lawmakers are looking at every traffic law possible to make travel safe for everyone. To protect its citizens, South Carolina lawmakers have recently passed a bill requiring a vision test in order to get a license renewed. While supporters feel the bill will help keep the Palmetto State safe for everyone, some critics believe the measure will make the DMV even more painful. Are safer roads worth a longer wait at the DMV?

The bill was passed by the South Carolina Senate and House and now awaits a signature from governor Henry McMaster. If signed, the bill will take effect on October 1, 2020. South Carolina previously required vision tests, but dropped that requirement in 2016 when the Real ID program began. The paperwork required for those IDs made DMV lines longer, so the vision test requirement was dropped. Naturally, accident rates rose in 2017, and legislators believe reinstating the vision test could help alleviate the problem.

Still, some critics feel that the move will only create unnecessary wait times at the DMV, already notorious for long lines and endless waits. “I don’t know how they could make it more complicated than it already is. We wait in line here for a long time. Everybody’s busy,” SC resident Patsy Griffith told WBTW. Others support the new law, arguing that it will ensure only capable drivers remain on SC roads.

There is some good news for those that hate to wait; the bill includes a provision which allows some drivers to be exempted from the vision screening if they can provide a recent certificate of vision exam from a certified opthamologist or optometrist.

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