News10NBC Investigates: Thousands face driver’s license suspension over DMV vision test

Thousands face license suspension over vision test

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — So many people face a suspended driver’s license if they don’t get an eye test now. It’s understandable if you forgot, because those tests were postponed during the worst days of COVID.

But that’s the key. They were postponed, not cancelled.

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean learned the test deadline for thousands of people is over thanksgiving.

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “How many people are we talking about here?”
Jamie Romeo, Monroe County Clerk: “In Monroe County, our estimates are a little over 3,000.”

You have two weeks to get this vision test done. So how do you know if it’s you?

If you renewed your license between March of 2020 and August of 2021 and you did not get a vision test and you got a letter from the DMV in October, you are among the thousands looking at a suspended license starting Dec. 1.

In Monroe County, almost 3,000 people still don’t have their vision test done. In Ontario County it’s more than 300 people. Almost 300 people in Wayne County haven’t done the test.

The total in our area is more 4,000.

In New York State, it’s more than 72,000.

“We’re concerned with that larger number of people that if they’re not aware, that this is something they need to take care of imminently with this deadline coming up on December 1, that they’re going to have their license suspended — which will then mean some drastic consequences for people,” explains Romeo.

The clerk’s office runs the State DMVoffices.

Brean: “How would someone know if they’re in this group? Is there something on their license? How would they know?”

Jamie Romeo: “They would have received communication from the State.”

In an email to Berkeley, the State DMV says it sent “multiple emails and letters” reminding drivers of “their responsibility” to get a vision test. 

“Those who are now at risk of suspension have still failed to provide that proof,” the DMV wrote.

Brean: “Part of the concern is that we’ve got up to 3,000 people in Monroe County who may not know they need to do this.”

Jamie Romeo: “That’s some of the concern. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to who those specific individual people are.”

The State told News10NBC you can find out if you need a vision test by going through its online chat system.

That’s what Berkeley did Monday. He asked the virtual agent “How do I know if I need a vision test prior to the December 1 deadline?”

The automated answer just gave him links to other DMV sites. The live chat is your best source, but you have to enter your drivers license and license plate numbers.

Brean: “If they don’t get this eye test done by December 1, what happens?”

Romeo: “Our understanding is the state will suspend their license — which, hypothetically, they might have to start that process over to get re-instated.”

Now, there is a five-day lag period between submitting your test and getting it recorded. That’s why the letter warns you have to submit your vision test by Sunday, November 26 so you don’t wake up on December 1 to a suspended license.

There are 65 approved places to get your eye test within eight miles of our station in downtown Rochester.