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Calif. DMV renews blind man's license

Oct. 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A California DMV office gave a new driver's license to a man who disclosed on his renewal form a medical ailment that had rendered him legally blind.

Unlike Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman," Mark Overland, 72, of Pacific Palisades doesn't plan to test his luck. But Overland, a lawyer who represented an elderly driver who plowed into a farmers' market killing 10 people in 2003, was disturbed enough by the DMV that he contacted the Los Angeles Times to tell his story.

He described an innocent enough encounter: He filled out the form honestly, identifying himself as having retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative illness that reduces peripheral vision. In Overland's case, he has lost 94 percent of his vision and can only see a small tunnel in front of him. Curious to see what would happen, he eschewed his usual white cane and enlisted his daughter as a guide. When called on, a clerk asked him to read an eye chart on the wall, which once he located it, Overland had no trouble reading.

DMV clerks are supposed to order a driving test for people with Overland's condition, but the clerk who processed his renewal never did so. A new license showed up in the mail two weeks later.

A department spokeswoman had no explanation for the under-sighted oversight.

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