20 Apr 2016

iTest, not eye test, on cards for drivers

3:44 pm on 20 April 2016

Drivers may soon renew their licences online, and not need to take eye tests, the Ministry of Transport says.

Traffic north of Wellington.

The ministry said its proposals would make it easier to renew licences online Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

A ministry spokesperson said people should still have to get their eyes tested when they first got a licence and after age 75, but that research showed repeated testing in between was unnecessary.

Instead of an eye test, people renewing their licence would have to make a declaration about the state of their eyesight.

The ministry said the change would make it easier for people to renew their licences online.

However, Tauranga optometrist Anya Fischer said eye tests could make the difference between life and death on the road, and people needed regular testing.

"It is very easy not to realise that your vision is changing ... it can range from your vision altering slightly, and not being as reliable in dusk or night driving conditions, to almost losing half of the visual field."

The government also wanted to streamline licence endorsements for heavy vehicles and specialist driving.

A discussion document on the proposals has been released and submissions are due to close on 2 June.