Driving Restrictions per State

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Vision restrictions for noncommercial driving licensing vary from state to state. [1]The table below provides a summary of the restrictions on best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and visual field degrees for each state. This content is primarily obtained from each state’s department of motor vehicles agency and is current at time of publication. Please note that this information is subject to change.

Disease Entity

Disease

According to the National Institutes of Health, low vision is defined as a best corrected visual acuity less than 20/40 (equivalent to 0.30 LogMAR) in the better-seeing eye. [2] In contrast, the World Health Organization defines low vision as BCVA of 20/60 to 20/200 or visual field <20 degrees in the better seeing eye.[1] There are many causes of low vision, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, eye trauma, and brain injury.[3] Diagnosis of low vision is established by visual acuity examinations using the LogMAR chart, which is preferred over the Snellen chart due to improved accuracy.[4] Each state requires visual acuity measurements for licensure, and almost all set the minimum BCVA requirement to 20/40. However, there is greater variation with visual field requirements, and some states do not require any visual field testing for licensure. [1]

Epidemiology

Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)
Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)


Prevalence of low vision increases with age, according to 2010 U.S. data obtained by the NIH.[2] Black and Hispanic populations have a higher prevalence of low vision than White populations, and this difference becomes more pronounced after the age of 80. The total number of people in the U.S. affected by low vision is expected to rise over the next 30 years for all ethnicities.[2] Consequently, there will be a greater need for low vision information and services in the U.S. over the next several decades.

Non-Commercial Driving Requirements per State

State Name

Absolute Low Vision BCVA Cut Off (Snellen)

Visual Field degrees

Restrictions and Other Information

AL Alabama 20/60 in better-seeing eye[5] 110° horizontally using both eyes[5] Vision testing is not required for license renewals.[6] Bioptic telescopes not allowed.[5]

AK

Alaska

20/40 in each eye or with both eyes together[7]

N/A[7]

AZ

Arizona

20/70 using both eyes or 20/50 using one eye[8]

70° temporal and 35° nasal in at least one eye[8]

If BCVA is between 20/40 and 20/50 in the better seeing eye or if BCVA is between 20/40 and 20/70 using both eyes, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction[8]

AR

Arkansas

20/70 using both eyes[9]

140° horizontally with two functional eyes, or 105° horizontally with one functional eye[9]

CA

California

20/40 using both eyes or 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in other eye[10]

N/A[10]

CO

Colorado

20/40 in one eye or both eyes [11][12]

N/A[11]

CT

Connecticut

20/40 using both eyes or 20/40 in at least one eye[13]

140º of uninterrupted horizontal field using both eyes, however, if driver is blind in one eye, then the other eye must have a horizontal field of 100º[12][13]

DE

Delaware

20/50 in at least one eye[12][14]

N/A[12][14]

If BCVA is between 20/40 and 20/50 in the better seeing eye, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction[14]

FL

Florida

20/40 using either eye or both eyes[15]

130º of uninterrupted horizontal field using both eyes[16]

Driver may pass with restrictions if BCVA is 20/70 in one eye only if the other eye is at least 20/200[15][16]

GA

Georgia

20/60 in at least one eye[17]

140º horizontally using both eyes[17]

HI

Hawaii

20/40 in the better seeing eye[18]

70º in each eye[19]

An ability to differentiate traffic colors and signals is required[19]

ID

Idaho

20/40 in at least 1 eye[20]

N/A[20]

IL

Illinois

20/70 using both eyes[21]

140º using both eyes, outside mirrors required on both sides of the vehicle if one eye has 70º temporally and 35º nasally[21]

Outside mirrors required on both sides of vehicle if BCVA is 20/40 in only one eye, daylight driving only if BCVA is 20/41 to 20/70 in both eyes, Outside mirrors required on both sides of vehicle AND daylight driving only if BCVA is 20/41 to 20/70 in only one eye[21]

Bioptic telescopes are allowed if BCVA with telescopes is 20/40—telescopic licenses allow daylight driving only for the first year.[21] Night driving can be requested after 1 year of accident-free driving with telescopes.[21]

IN

Indiana

20/50 in each eye[22]

N/A[22]

Outside mirrors are required if BCVA in one eye is at least 20/40 and BCVA in the other eye is less than 20/50. Outside mirrors and daylight driving only if BCVA is 20/50 in one eye and less than 20/70 in the other eye or if BCVA is at least 20/70 in each eye.[22]

IA

Iowa

20/70 using both eyes[23]

110º using both eyes or 100º in one eye[23]

If BCVA is between 20/70 and 20/40 using both eyes, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction.[23]

If visual field is less than 140º but better than 110º using both eyes or better than 100º using 1 eye, then outside mirrors are required on both sides of vehicle.[23]

KS

Kansas

20/60 in at least 1 eye[24]

110º using both eyes[24]

An optometrist or ophthalmologist may suggest various restrictions or may suggest a drive test if driver does not meet BCVA or visual field requirements[24]

KY

Kentucky

20/60 in at least 1 eye[25]

While using both eyes, 35º to the left and right side of fixation and 25º degrees above and below fixation[25]

LA

Louisiana

20/70 in each eye[26] 

N/A[26]

If BCVA is between 20/70 and 20/40 in either or both eyes, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction and is required to use a left outside rearview mirror.[26]

ME

Maine

20/100 in each eye[27]

110º using either both eyes or one eye[27]

If visual fields are less than 120º using both eyes or one eye, or less than 50º to the left, or less than 50º to the right of fixation, then an Esterman and/or road test is required.[27]

MD

Maryland

20/70 in each eye or both eyes[28] 

110º using both eyes, with 35º lateral to midline of each side[28]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/70 and 20/100 require special handling by the MVA's Glen Burnie Headquarters.[28]

MA

Massachusetts

20/70 in the better eye[29]

120º using both eyes[29]

If BCVA is between 20/70 and 20/50 in the better eye, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction.[29]

MI

Michigan

20/70 using both eyes[30]

90º using both eyes[30]

If BCVA is between 20/70 and 20/50 using both eyes or if visual fields are between 90º to 110º, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction.[30]

MN

Minnesota

20/70 using one or both eyes[31]

100º using one or both eyes[31]

If BCVA is 20/50 or less, driver is subject to area, daylight, and speed restrictions. If visual field is between 100º and 105º, outside rearview mirrors are required on both sides of the vehicle.[31]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/80 and up to but not including 20/100 require special handling by the Driver Evaluation Unit.[31]

MS

Mississippi

20/70 using both eyes[12]

170º using both eyes or 70º temporal and 35º nasal if using one eye[12]

If BCVA is between 20/70 and 20/50 using both eyes, then the driver passes with daylight driving restriction and with speed restriction.[12]

MO

Missouri 

20/40 using both eyes[32][33]

55º in each eye or 85º using one eye[32][33]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/40 and 20/160 are required to see a vision specialist before reattempting to pass the test[32][33]

MT

Montana

20/40 in each eye or both eyes together[34]

N/A[34]

If vision is worse than 20/40 in both eyes together but improvement is possible, the driver may be eligible for a license with corrective lens restrictions.[34]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/40 and 20/70 may pass with daylight driver restriction, 55 miles per hour (mph) on the interstate and 45 mph otherwise, and no driving during bad weather.[34]

If the driver’s vision in one eye is below 20/40 but the other eye is 20/40 or better, the driver passes with “left outside mirror restriction” if there are no plans to correct the poorer eye.[34]

If the driver’s vision in one eye is below 20/500 and the other is 20/40 or better, the driver passes with left outside mirror restriction.[34]

NE

Nebraska

20/60 in each eye or in both eyes together[35]

140º using both eyes[35]

The driver passes with a “right and left outside mirror” restriction if vision is 20/70 or worse in one eye and between 20/40 and 20/60 in the other eye, or if visual field is between 120º and 139º using both eyes.[35]

The driver passes with a “daylight hours only” restriction if vision is 20/60 in both eyes, or 20/60 in one eye and 20/60 or worse but not blind in the other eye.[35]

NV

Nevada

20/40 using both eyes[36]

N/A[36]

Drivers that need glasses or contact lenses to reach 20/40 pass with a “must wear corrective eye lens” restriction[36]

NH

New Hampshire

20/40 using both eyes or 20/30 with one eye[37][38]

N/A[37]

If corrective lenses are required to reach 20/40, the driver passes with a “corrective lens required” restriction[37]

NJ

New Jersey

20/50 using at least one eye [39][40]

N/A[40]

If corrective lenses are required to reach 20/50, the driver passes with a “must wear corrective lenses” restriction[39]

NM

New Mexico

20/40 in the better eye[41]

120º in the horizontal meridian with at least 30º in the nasal field of one eye[41]

Drivers with vision betwee 20/50 and 20/80 may pass but with restrictions[41] 

NY

New York

20/70 in either or both eyes[42]

140º horizontal, binocular using both eyes[43]

Drivers must not have visual acuity less than 20/100 through carrier lens in either or both eyes[43]

NC

North Carolina

20/100 using both eyes or 20/70 if one eye is blind[44]

60º using one eye or 30º on each side of the central point of fixation[44][45]

Drivers with vision correctable to 20/40 or better in one or both eyes pass with no restrictions.[45]

Drivers with vision correctable to 20/70 pass with restriction to driving on roads with speed limit of 45 mph or less and no driving on interstate highways.[45]

Drivers with vision correctable to 20/100 pass with “daylight hours” restriction, driving only on roads with speed limit of 45 mph or less, and no driving on interstate highways.[45]

Drivers with homonymous hemianopsia are not allowed to drive.[45]

ND

North Dakota

20/80 in better eye if 20/100 in worse eye[46]

105º using both eyes[46][47]

Drivers with BCVA of 20/40 or less pass with an outside mirror requirement.[47]

Drivers with BCVA of 20/50 or less pass with restriction to daylight driving and a requirement of a vision recheck within the next 2 years.[47]

Drivers with BCVA of 20/70 in the better eye and between 20/80 and 20/100 in the worse eye require vision recheck within one year.[47]

OH

Ohio

Better than 20/70 using both eyes[48]

70º in each eye[49]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/50 and 20/70 using both eyes or 20/200 in either eye pass with daylight driver restriction[48]

OK

Oklahoma

20/100 in better eye[50]

70º in the horizontal meridian[50]

Drivers that pass the minimum vision requirement may be placed on restrictions including daylight driving only, speed limitations, or local driving only based on physician recommendations[50]

OR

Oregon

20/70 using both eyes or one eye [51]

110º using both eyes[51] 

Drivers with BCVA between 20/40 and 20/70 pass with daylight driving only restriction unless a licensed vision specialist disagrees with the restriction[51]

Drivers that require corrective lenses to reach 20/70 are required to wear the corrective lenses while driving[51]

PA

Pennsylvania

20/100 using both eyes[52]

120º using both eyes in the horizontal meridian[52]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/70 and 20/100 using both eyes pass with daylight driving restriction[52]

RI

Rhode Island

20/40 using both eyes or 20/40 with one eye[53]

115º using both eyes in the horizontal meridian or 40º nasally and 75º temporally using one eye[53]

Drivers with at least 20/40 vision in one eye and no vision in the other eye pass with a requirement to have a rear vision mirror on the side of the blind eye[53]

Drivers with constant diplopia will not pass[53]

SC

South Carolina

20/120 in better functioning eye[54]

120º horizontal field using both eyes and 80º vertical using both eyes[54]

70º temporally and 35º nasally using one eye [54]

SD

South Dakota

20/60 using both eyes[55]

N/A[55]

TN

Tennessee

20/40 in better eye[56]

150º using both eyes[56]

Drivers with BCVA of 20/60 in both eyes or either eye pass with restrictions that include area limitations[56]

TX

Texas

20/70 using both eyes or in best eye[57]

N/A[57] 

Drivers with BCVA of 20/70 may receive restrictions including daytime driving only, 45 mph limit, or another alternative restriction based on vision specialist recommendations[57]

UT

Utah

20/40 using both eyes[58]

120º using both eyes[58]

Drivers with BCVA worse than 20/40, a statement from the vision specialist is required and should state vision problem and specific driving restrictions[58]

Drivers older than 65 years of age are required to pass a vision test every 5 years[58]

VT

Vermont

20/40 with both eyes or one eye[59]

60º temporal with both eyes or 60º temporal and nasal in one eye[59][60]

VA

Virginia

20/40 with both eyes or one eye[61]

110º horizontal in both eyes[61]

Drivers with partial hemianopic or quadrantopic defects pass if visual field in the unaffected eye is adequate and in the unaffected eye is 30º temporally with 15º above and below the horizontal line[61]

Drivers with bitemporal hemianopsia pass if combined nasal visual field is at least 70º[61]

WA

Washington

20/40 using both eyes[62]

110º in horizontal meridian with both eyes or one eye[62]

Drivers with BCVA worse than 20/70 pass with daytime driving only restriction[63]

Drivers with BCVA worse than 20/40 require reexamination by a vision specialist[63]

WV

West Virginia

20/60 using both eyes[64]

N/A[64]

Drivers with BCVA between 20/40 and 20/60 will be reviewed on a case by case basis[64]

WI

Wisconsin

20/100 using one eye[65]

20º from center in at least one eye[65]

Drivers with BCVA worse than 20/40 or visual field worse than 70º may require vision specialist recommendation, driving skills test, or restrictions (daytime driving only, outside mirrors, restricted routes, etc.)[65]

WY

Wyoming

20/100 using both eyes[66]

120º in the horizontal field using both eyes[66] 

Drivers with BCVA of 20/50 or worse in one eye and 20/40 or better in the other eye pass with outside mirror restriction[66]

Drivers with progressive disease in one eye with BCVA of at least 20/40 in the diseased eye pass with outside rearview mirror restriction[66]

In addition to the states, several other areas belong to the United States:

DC

District of Columbia

20/40 in better eye[67]

140º using both eyes[67]

Drivers with BCVA of at least 20/70 in the best eye pass if visual field is at least 140º[67]

GU

Guam

20/40 using both eyes or one eye[68]

140º of horizontal vision using both eyes or 70º using one eye[68]

Drivers with BCVA of 20/40 may receive restrictions including outside rear view mirror or requirement to wear corrective lenses while driving[68]

AS

American Samoa

20/40 using both eyes[69]

N/A[69]

PR

Puerto Rico

Not found

Not found

Not found

VI

U.S. Virgin Islands

Driver must consider his/her own vision adequate for driving[70]

Additional Resources

Detailed information regarding bioptic driving laws can be found here: http://www.biopticdrivingusa.com/state-laws/

References

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  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. Helpful Information for Patients: Vision Requirements for Driving Safety. NCSEPS. http://www.nceyemd.org/pages/patient_info.html. Accessed August 1, 2018.
  46. 46.0 46.1 American Medical Association. Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/olddrive/olderdriversbook/pages/NDakota.html. Accessed August 2, 2018.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 North Dakota Legislative Branch. Article 37-08 Visual Requirements for Operators Licenses or Permits. Nd.gov Official Portal for North Dakota State Government. https://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/37-08-01.pdf. Accessed August 2, 2018.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Minimum Visual Acuity Standards Chart. Ohio BMV. http://bmv.ohio.gov/links/bmv_Minimum-Visual-Acuity-Standards-Chart.pdf. Accessed August 2, 2018.
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