Driver Licence Eye Test

S. Paurini made this Official Information request to New Zealand Transport Agency

The request was partially successful.

From: S. Paurini

Dear New Zealand Transport Agency,

I was told I needed an eye test when I went to renew my P Endorsement. I failed the test on the second line. The agent said "the machines weren't very good". She said to go around the corner to Spec Savers and ask for a $25 eye test and bring the result back. I did that, I paid $25 and passed the Spec Savers test. The Spec Savers folk also pointed out that the eye testing machines at AA and NZTA/LTNZ shop aren't accurate. Why should the public pay for our licences where the eye test is included when it is likely many of us will fail because of low quality eye testing equipment, only to have to pay again for a better quality eye test?

Yours faithfully,

S. Paurini

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New Zealand Transport Agency


Thank you for your email.

When an application is completed for a drivers licence transaction, within the application we can only allow for 1 eyesight check. The agent is to conduct a basic test to check how well a driver can see at a distance and to the sides. It is simply designed to ensure that the applicant has no irregularities in their vision; it is not a comprehensive check.

Should an applicant not pass this basic screening check then they are required to have an examination by an optometrist or doctor, who is qualified to perform a wider range of tests, to determine if that person's eyesight meets the required standards for driving.

Of the 3.5% of drivers who return with a certificate, 30% are required to wear corrective lenses. This can be generalised that up until this eyesight screening check, you may not have been driving with corrective lenses, where they are actually required.

It is acknowledged that some people who fail the eyesight check and are referred to optometrists, subsequently receive an eyesight certificate indicating they are fit to drive. In which case, the eyesight screening machine has succeeded in its purpose by showing an irregularity has occurred and that further examination is required. While it is not possible to have a screening process that is 100% accurate, the eyesight screening machine does hold a success rate of 96.5%.

Whilst I understand the inconvenience visiting an optometrist has caused, within your application, the Transport Agency can be satisfied that your vision meets the requirement of holding a Passenger Endorsement.

We appreciate the time you have taken to contact us regarding your experience of completing the eyesight check, we are continuously looking for ways to improve our customers experience, we have made note of your feedback.

Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Genevieve van der Merwe / Customer Advisor - Ministerials
Regulatory Services 
NZ Transport Agency
P +64 68264485 / E [email address] / W
Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

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From: S. Paurini

Dear [email address],

Thanks for your email. Much appreciated. I will look further into this because no one should have to pay for the second test if they've just passed a regular exam with the optometrist and are not due for another two years from now. I've been wearing corrective lenses for driving all my life (condition on my DL). I strongly believe the machine is faulty or inadequate.

Yours sincerely,

S. Paurini

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New Zealand Transport Agency

Thank you for contacting the NZ Transport Agency.

This is an automated response to confirm we have received your email,
however we have significantly reduced staffing due to our Palmerston North
Office closure until further notice. We aim to respond to your email
within 10 working days.

If you need to report a State Highway issue that requires urgent
attention, please call our 24/7 Highway Information Team on 0800 444 449. 

During this outage, you can visit out counter agents (AA, VTNZ, NZ Post
and VINZ) for assistance or go to [1]

Kind regards,

NZ Transport Agency



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