§ 83.3. Visual standards.

 (a)  Driving without corrective lenses. A person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision may drive without corrective lenses.

   (1)  If a person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision, however, has visual acuity of less than 20/40 in one eye, the vision in that eye shall be corrected to its best visual acuity.

   (2)  A person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision and who has visual acuity of less than 20/40 in one eye, may drive without corrective lenses upon determination by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist that the person’s combined vision would not be improved by the use of corrective lenses.

 (b)  Driving with corrective lenses. A person with visual acuity of less than 20/40 combined vision shall wear lenses correcting combined vision to 20/40 or better while driving, except that if correction to 20/40 is not possible, the person may drive in daylight hours only if one of the following are met:

   (1)  The combined vision has been corrected to 20/60 or better.

   (2)  Visual acuity is less than 20/60 combined vision but at least 20/70 combined vision with best correction, but only upon recommendation of a licensed optometrist or licensed physician who has equipment to properly evaluate visual acuity.

 (c)  Visual acuity of less than 20/70.

   (1)  A person with visual acuity of less than 20/70 combined vision but at least 20/100 combined vision with best correction may apply for and may be issued a restricted license only upon recommendation of a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist or licensed physician who has equipment to properly evaluate visual acuity, and only if the following conditions or limitations are satisfied:

     (i)   The person takes and successfully passes a complete vision examination, including plotted visual fields, upon application and annually thereafter.

     (ii)   The person takes and successfully passes a driver’s examination upon application.

     (iii)   The person’s driving privilege is limited to roads other than freeways, as defined in 75 Pa.C.S. §  102 (relating to definitions).

     (iv)   The person’s driving privilege is limited to passenger vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds, and excludes operation of a motorcycle.

     (v)   If determined by the Department to be appropriate, the person’s driving privilege is limited to driving within a limited radius of the person’s residence as recommended by a licensed physician.

   (2)  Violation of these conditions or limitations shall result in the recall of the restricted license. In addition, an annual review of the person’s accident and violation history will be conducted by the Department and the restricted license may be recalled if the Department determines that the person was involved in an at fault accident or convicted of two moving violations committed within a 1-year period.

 (d)  Visual acuity of less than 20/100. A person with visual acuity of less than 20/100 combined vision with best correction will not be qualified to drive.

 (e)  Vision requirements. A person shall have a combined field of vision of at least 120° in the horizontal meridian, excepting the normal blind spots.

 (f)  Sight in one eye. A person may be adequately sighted in only one eye and still meet the requirements of this section The person’s driving privilege will be restricted to vehicles having mirrors so located as to reflect to the person a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear.

 (g)  Telescopic lenses. Correction through the use of telescopic lenses is not acceptable for purposes of meeting acuity requirements.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  83.3 amended under the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § §  1517, 1518 and 6103.

Source

   The provisions of this §  83.3 adopted May 18, 1979, effective May 19, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 1631; amended April 11, 1986, effective April 12, 1986, 16 Pa.B. 1279; readopted April 19, 1991, effective April 12, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1813; amended July 16, 2004, effective July 17, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 3718. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (262089) to (262090).

Notes of Decisions

   Doctor Liability

   An ophthalmologist will not be held liable to a third party where the ophthalmologist failed to inform his patient or the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) of the patient’s poor visual acuity and, subsequently, the patient injured the third party while driving her automobile, because the physician’s failure to notify PennDOT of a disorder does not give rise to a private remedy, and because it is an unreasonable extension of the concepts of duty and forseeability to broaden a physician’s duty to a patient and hold a physician liable to the public at large within the factual scenario of this case. Estate of Witthoeft v. Kiskaddon, 733 A.2d 623 (Pa. 1999).

   Although the doctor should have reported the patient’s poor visibility to the Department of Transportation, that failure to act does not expose the doctor to liability for injuries caused by a patient’s operation of a vehicle. Estate of Witthoeft v. Kiskaddon, 676 A.2d 1223 (Pa. Super. 1996); affirmed 733 A.2d 623 (Pa. 1999).

   General Comments

   This regulation has the force and effect of a statute. Dare v. Department of Transportation, 682 A.2d 413 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).

   License Properly Revoked

   Individual properly had driver’s license revoked where an optometrist’s examination revealed that the individual was sighted only in one eye and the individual’s field of vision was less than 140° in the horizontal meridian, except for the normal blind spots. Dare v. Department of Transportation, 682 A.2d 413 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).

   Sight in One Eye

   Subsection (e) of this regulation only provides that sight in one eye, alone, will not preclude an individual from meeting the visual standards. Rather, if such a person meets the requirements of this regulation and restricts his or her driving to vehicles which have adequate rear view mirrors, then he or she may be found competent to drive. However, there is no language in subsection (e) allowing an individual sighted in one eye only, who uses rear view mirrors, to be excused from meeting the requirements of subsections (a)—(f). Dare v. Department of Transportation, 682 A.2d 413 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).

   Telescopic Lenses

   The provisions of this section (formerly 67 Pa. Code §  157.3), which disallow the use of telescopic lenses to meet visual acuity requirements for driver’s licenses, do not violate section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §  794) or equal protection or due process provisions of the Federal or State constitutions. Department of Transportation v. Liberati, 472 A.2d 741 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1984).

   Vision Requirements

   Evidence that a 72-year-old motorist has adapted his driving to minimize the effects of retinitis pigmentosa, which substantially impairs the field of vision, was not relevant to a determination of competency under this regulation which requires a motorist to have a combined field of vision of at least 140° in the horizontal median, excepting blind spots, where the motorist was restricted to the presentation of objective evidence showing that the Department of Transportation’s report of his field-of-vision measurement was incorrect. Byers v. Department of Transportation, 735 A.2d 168 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999).

   Once the Department of Transportation establishes a licensee’s incompetence to drive, due process requires that the licensee be given an opportunity to demonstrate objectively that his or her vision is sufficient to meet the vision requirements. Byers v. Department of Transportation, 735 A.2d 168 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999).

   Section 83.3(d) does not violate due process, where the regulation requires merely that an individual possess certain minimum visual requirements to operate a motor vehicle, much like minimum age requirements. Byers v. Department of Transportation, 735 A.2d 168 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999).



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