updated 12/31/2003 10:50:38 AM ET 2003-12-31T15:50:38

Florida drivers over age 80 must pass a vision test to renew their licenses under a new law taking effect in 2004.

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Starting Jan. 1, the state’s more than 500,000 elderly drivers will be required to either take the test in person or have a form signed by their eye doctor saying they’ve passed.

All drivers who renew in person already get a vision test. But most renew by mail, which they can do every six years up to three times, meaning they can go 18 years without the test.

Doctor's note required
Elderly drivers will still be able to renew by mail or online, but can only do so with the doctor’s note.

More than 20 states have special requirements for older drivers. New Hampshire and Illinois require road tests for those 75 and older, while in Nevada drivers 70 and older who renew licenses by mail must include a medical report.

The senior citizens lobby AARP came out in support of the change last year, as long as the measure included a study of how to make the roads safer for the elderly, which it does. That study is due to be finished early next year.

Another new state law taking effect Jan. 1 exempts about a half million investors from state taxes on stock, bond and mutual fund holdings. About 514,000 Floridians who pay the “intangibles tax” on their securities holdings will be dropped from the rolls Thursday.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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