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Are Florida’s Driver Vision Laws Too Relaxed?


Four years after a woman hit a teen motorcyclist in a fatal crash, a Florida jury is awarding the victim’s family $5 million in their wrongful death case. The driver was found to be 85-percent responsible for the teenager’s death. The vehicle driver was 78 at the time of the crash and found to be legally blind.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), low vision and/or blindness affects 1 in 28 Americans older than 40. The risk for low vision and/or blindness increases significantly with age, especially in people aged 65 years or older. Certain health conditions can contribute to vision impairments and blindness, too. Autoimmune disorders like diabetes and multiple sclerosis can cause damage and inflammation to the eyes which can lead to sudden vision loss and/or blindness.

According to records, the driver had been told to address her cataracts six months before the crash, but had failed to do so. Cataracts refer to cloudiness of the eyes’ natural lenses. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately half of Americans have cataracts by the age of 75. Nonetheless, her driver’s license was valid.

Institutes like the American Optometric Association recommend adults over 60 have an annual eye examination to ensure prescriptions are current and to check for developing eye health problems. In Florida, drivers aged 79 years or older, who are due for a license renewal, must pass a basic vision test. However, a driver’s license is valid for eight years in Florida before a renewal is needed. It is valid for six years after a person turns 80. This could mean that if a driver renews their license at age 78, they will not have to renew their license or undergo a vision test until age 84. A person’s vision can drastically change in six to eight years.

The standard to pass Florida’s basic vision test is 20/50, which means a person must be able to clearly see an object from 20 feet away. A person with normal vision can clearly see an object from 50 feet away. If one eye is blind, the other eye must have 20/40 vision. If one or both eyes fails to meet these requirements, the person will be required to pass an eye examination administered by a vision specialist and could be subject to corrective lens restrictions on their license.

If you suspect someone should not be driving due to vision impairment or another medical impairment, you can contact your local law enforcement. Your identity is confidential and the reported individual may be asked to submit medical clearance from their doctor or be required to undergo vision testing at their local DMV.

If you or someone you love has been severely injured in a vehicle accident involving a driver whose vision could have been a factor, we want to help. Milles Law has over fifteen years of courtroom experience fighting for victims’ rights. Call us today at (855) 553-3310 or tell us about your case online.

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