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Minnesota Driving Requirements

Original and renewal applicants must take and pass a vision screening test. To pass, drivers must have at least 20/40 acuity with either one usable eye or with both eyes, with or without corrective lenses; and a visual field of at least 105 degrees in the horizontal diameter with either one usable eye or with both eyes. Applicants who meet the standards with corrective lenses will have a corrective-lenses restriction placed on their licenses. Drivers who cannot meet the DPS standard using the Department’s screening devices must have their vision specialist complete a vision form based on an examination conducted within the prior 6-month period.

In addition to providing acuity and visual field readings and listing any eye diseases, the eyecare specialist is asked to indicate whether the patient’s vision is adequate to exercise reasonable and proper control of a motor vehicle, and any recommended restrictions (including but not limited to daylight only, maximum speed, miles from home, and no freeway driving). Minnesota Rules specify restrictions based on visual performance. Applicants with acuity of 20/50 or less may be restricted to road type, driving area, and daylight only driving if the commissioner determines that the restriction is necessary for the safety of the applicant and the public. Speed restrictions are placed as follows: applicants with 20/50 acuity are restricted to maximum speeds of 55 mi/h; applicants with 20/60 acuity are restricted to maximum speeds of 50 mi/h; and applicants with 20/70 acuity are restricted to maximum speeds of 45 mi/h and no freeway driving. Applicants with visual fields of less than 105 degrees are restricted to driving with left and right outside mirrors, in addition to other applicable restrictions based on their acuity. When an applicant’s acuity is 20/80 to 20/100 (but not including 20/100), the Driver Evaluation Unit will determine whether a restricted license can be issued. Applicants will not be licensed if: they have corrected acuity of 20/100 or less; they are known to be receiving assistance for the blind; they have a visual field of less than 100 degrees in the horizontal diameter with either one usable eye or with both eyes; the Commissioner receives a recommendation from a licensed physician or optometrist that the applicant’s license should be cancelled or denied; or they fail to submit a required vision examination within the requested time period. Binocular telescopic lenses that do not restrict a driver’s peripheral vision may be used on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must have a recommendation from their eyecare specialist and pass a DPS road test. Currently, there are 2 drivers in Minnesota who are licensed to drive with binocular telescopic lenses.