In effort to make Connecticut more accessible for drivers, Rep. Tony Scott testifies during public hearing on H.B. 5366

Posted on March 9, 2022


Imagine being told as a teenager that, even though you had the ability, you weren’t allowed to drive a car. It’s such an important part of a young person’s development. Think about the loss of freedom and the inability to connect with friends, travel to college or get a job.

Sandra Gabriel-Busa and her son Max have just that issue, but it’s one that I’m trying to help them, and many others, solve.

Today, I had the opportunity to testify before the Transportation Committee on behalf of H.B. 5366 titled “An Act Concerning Revisions to the Motor Vehicle Statutes,” which aims to give people who use bioptic lenses the ability to drive. Under current law, Max, who is on the high school wrestling team and involved in Boy Scouts, can’t take his driving test in Connecticut because he was diagnosed with Juvenile Macular Degeneration at the age of 10 and needs bioptic lenses in order to get behind the wheel. His vision is lower than average, but the loss of sight has plateaued.

Those bioptics use telescopic lenses attached to a set of glasses that give the driver the ability to increase focus on certain objects as they are driving. Over 30 states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania allow for the use of bioptic lenses as a driver’s license aide, much like a knob on a steering wheel or a foot extension to reach the pedals. I’m a proponent of this bill, which would add Connecticut to that list.

Macular degeneration can happen to any of us, and is more likely to occur as we age. This is a bill for people like Max, but also so many people who risk losing their independence due to a medical issue. According to the National Eye Institute, the rates of age-related macular degeneration have gone up in the U.S. in the last twenty years and were projected to top 5 million by 2050 due to an increase in our aging population.

Below, you can listen to Max’s story and hear from his mom, a Monroe resident, who contacted me to help with this issue and also testified. This is why we legislators do what we do, to make a real difference to the lives of our constituents and to take a step forward for him and others like him to give them their independence.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Tony.Scott@housegop.ct.gov if you have any issue that you also need addressed.

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