California Drivers License

DMV Vision Standards for California Drivers License

  • 20/40 with both eyes tested together and
  • 20/40 in one eye and
  • 20/70, at least in the other eye.
  • Applicants for a California drivers license may wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the minimum visual acuity standards.

If applicants for a California drivers license have difficulty reading the eye chart, the DMV examiner will then test distance vision with a machine called Optec 1000.  The examiner will ask an applicant to read first with both eyes and then with each eye individually.  If an applicant wears bifocal glasses, the far distance part of your glasses is used.

The DMV may refuse to grant a license if an applicant for a California drivers license does not have a minimum best-correctable vision of 20/200 in your better eye. (Vehicle Code 12805).

The DMV takes into account the severity of an applicant’s vision condition, how vision condition affects an applicant’s central and side vision, if an applicant’s vision condition affects one or both eyes, whether glasses, surgery, or contact lenses can correct a vision condition, and whether the condition will get worse.

DMV Vision Form

The DMV may require an applicant for a California drivers license to undertake an eye examination and have the office complete a detailed vision form.  Our office provides the necessary testing required by the DMV and sends applicants the form within a reasonable period of time.  Applicants may then take the DMV Vision Form and associated test results to the DMV.  The DMV may accept the results of the DMV Vision Form and take no further action.  The DMV may retest an applicant’s vision.  The DMV also has the option of having applicants take a driving test to demonstrate that an applicant has compensated for any vision loss caused by an eye condition.

Driving Test

Drivers may be asked to take a driving test if there is a vision problem.  The DMV is authorized to test all applicants for a California drivers license under Vehicle Code section 12804.9.

  • A driving test will last about 20 minutes.
  • A test will consist of basic maneuvers such as: left and right turns, stops, lane changes, and driving in regular street traffic.
  • Drive smoothly at all times.
  • Drivers should be sure to stop behind the limiting line at crosswalks with a stop sign or red traffic light.
  • Drivers should follow at a safe distance; one car length for every 10 mph.
  • Drivers should signal for all lane changes and turns.
  • Check your mirrors frequently and look over your shoulder before making a lane change or pulling away from the curb.
  • Always use the proper lane. Turn from the correct lane into the correct lane.
  • Applicants for California Drivers License should ask questions before taking the test.  The examiner will not engage in general conversation during the test.
  • The examiner will check both California drivers license plates and a driver’s registration to see if they are up to date.
  • The examiner will also check front and back turn signals and confirm that a driver’s car has a working brake light.
  • When driving, driver’s should use two hands on opposite sides of the steering wheel.

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