SANTA FE – Older drivers at high risk for complications from COVID-19 will no longer be required to take their annual eye exam at a state Motor Vehicle Division office.
It’s the latest regulatory tweak by New Mexico officials in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with more expected in the coming months.
By law, drivers 79 and older are required to take an annual eye exam to keep their licenses. That requirement has forced seniors to leave the safety of their homes during the pandemic or risk lapsing on their license. Officials said some MVD locations have slotted seniors-only hours, but those visits still put older people at risk.
On Friday, the MVD announced that drivers 79 and older can instead take eye exams at their doctor’s office and submit the information online.
“We’re especially pleased to be able to offer this service for one of our most vulnerable populations. We know that many seniors still aren’t comfortable coming to an office right now,” said acting MVD Director Marcos Martinez.
The MVD had received medical exams remotely in the past. A re-examination of the eye exam law found that remote submissions could be accepted.
While more and more MVD paperwork is being accepted online, waits for in-person appointments are hovering around 60 minutes because of a backlog from an early pandemic shutdown.
For drivers of all ages who are close to having their license expire, they can get 90-day temporary ones.
In the coming months, the MVD plans to allow more services to be completed online, including in-state title transfers and first-time vehicle registrations.