South Carolina Delays Eye Tests for Driver’s License Renewal Until 2020

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COLUMBIA, S.C.—South Carolina lawmakers voted last Thursday to delay until 2020 the implementation of a law requiring the state’s drivers to get an eye exam before upgrading to new, federally compliant Real ID driver's licenses, The State newspaper reported. In February, 2018, the South Carolina House voted to bring back the eye-exam requirement by September 2019. At that time, State Rep. Jason Elliott, R-Greenville, called that vote a victory for "the concept that you need to be able to see to drive a car.”

Kevin Shwedo, director of the state’s DMV, told a Senate panel Thursday that he has seen no statistics showing car accidents have increased in states, including South Carolina, that have dropped the eye exam requirement. He said conducting vision screenings would clog the DMV offices with test takers.

The Senate panel then voted to allow drivers seeking to renew their license to have two years before they would be required to take an eye test. State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said he supports reinstating the eye test requirement. "There’s value in that,” he told The State. “I don’t know how much. But I’d rather err on the side of caution.”