Here are some of SC’s most unusual driving laws
South Carolina soon could bring back the requirement that its drivers periodically have their eyes checked, a rule that S.C. lawmakers dropped last year to smooth the state’s transition to new Real ID driver’s licenses.
“It’s a victory today for the concept that you need to be able to see to drive a car,” said state Rep. Jason Elliott, the Greenville Republican who sponsored the bill.
But that requirement likely won’t apply immediately to the 1.1 million S.C. residents who already have taken advantage of the current law to submit online applications for the new Real ID licenses.
S.C. House members, who overwhelmingly passed the proposal on Tuesday, said they don’t want to clog Department of Motor Vehicles offices statewide by forcing those drivers to renew their licenses in person. Still, all drivers applying for licenses after the proposal becomes law would need to have their vision screened.
At the urging of the state Department of Motor Vehicles, S.C. lawmakers last year dropped the requirement that drivers have their vision screened before renewing their licenses. The agency argued the exams were a waste of time and money that didn’t make S.C. roads any safer.
Director Kevin Shwedo said the vision tests are another layer of bureaucracy that could add to the already lengthy lines that Motor Vehicles expects later this year as 4 million S.C. drivers begin upgrading to federally compliant Real ID driver’s licenses.
House members said Tuesday they were valuing road safety over possible Motor Vehicles headaches.
“If you don’t think being able to see well is a basic necessity of driving, we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” state Rep. Russell Ott, D-Calhoun, told another House member during Tuesday’s debate.