Vision Requirements and Driving in California

San Francisco Bay Area Impaired Driver Accident Attorney

In most car, truck, and pedestrian knockdown accidents, seldom does it occur to injury victims to ask if the driver who hit them should have been wearing glasses – if operating a car at all. While California state law lists vision requirements drivers must meet in order to drive legally, it may not be obvious at first glance whether a vehicle’s operator suffers from vision impairment. In fact, in California, drivers with a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse may not be licensed to drive. And, depending on the kind and severity of a driver’s vision impairment, certain restrictions may be placed on their license. Here, a driver may be restricted to driving between sunrise and sunset, required to wear corrective lenses, restricted from driving on the freeway, or required to put additional mirrors on their vehicle.

Vision Tests, the DMV, and the Evaluation Drivers must Undergo

In order to qualify for or get a driver’s license renewed in California, drivers must pass a vision test administered by the DMV. Drivers are first asked to read a line on an eye chart with both eyes open and then asked to read different lines with each eye individually. If a driver wears glasses (corrective lenses), they may take the vision test with their glasses or contact lenses.

If a driver has problems with their vision, the DMV will take into consideration the following factors before issuing them their license:

• The seriousness of the vision impairment
• The degree to which a vision condition affects a driver’s central and side vision
• Whether or not a vision condition affects one or both eyes
• Whether a vision condition can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery
• Whether or not a vision condition is degenerative and will get worse

Vision Acuity Standards for Drivers in California

In order to meet the DMV’s visual acuity requirement, drivers must meet the following requirements:

• 20/40 with both eyes tested together and
• 20/40 in one eye and
• 20/70 (at a minimum) in the other eye

Drivers who are unable to meet the minimum visual acuity requirement must wear glasses or contacts that result in a better than 20/200 corrected in at least one eye. Drivers cannot wear bioptic telescopic lenses while driving.

Car Accidents and Vision Impairment

Vision impairments often translate into diminished visual acuity, especially at night. As a result, those who need glasses and haven’t been screened recently may have difficulty judging distances, negotiating lanes, or seeing peripherally. That’s why it’s important to determine if the driver who hit you has a vision impairment or should have been wearing glasses but wasn’t. Establishing vision impairment on the part of the other driver can help establish their fault in an accident, holding them fully financially accountable for your injuries.

If you’ve been involved in a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian knockdown accident, contact San Francisco car accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Locations & Contact Information
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
P. 415-788-3900

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800 Oakland, CA 94612
P. 510-663-6000

Read Our Blogs

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We are sending holiday cheer to you in the hopes that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year. As we look ... [Read More...]