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8/9/2005
New Zealand Police Harass Wearers of Contact Lenses
Motorists in New Zealand are asked to remove contact lenses when pulled over.

Michael Romanos
Contact lens-wearing motorists in New Zealand are being forced by police to remove them in roadside stops. On Monday, Wellington Police Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken pulled over Michael Romanos for not wearing a seatbelt. When Hocken noticed that Romanos' license specified that he must wear corrective lenses, the officer ordered him to prove that he was. Usually, motorists are asked to remove their contacts on the roadside.

Romanos said because he wore hard contact lenses, he could not remove and re-insert them without wetting solution. The officer then insisted that they drive to an optometrist to prove he was wearing them. After some time, Dr. Raymond Mah was able to certify that Romanos was indeed wearing corrective lenses. For all his troubles, the officer gave Romanos a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

Police officers in the UK have a different approach. They have become part-time optometrists, administering both roadside exams and dispensing eye care advice.

Article Excerpt:
Mr Hocken said "I had not been able to reasonably confirm Mr Romanos was wearing them. The issue he had was getting it back in, so it just seemed like the most pragmatic way of dealing with it. I didn't want him to take one out and then drive without it. That would have been defeating the purpose."
Source: Police escort for contact lens driver (Stuff (New Zealand), 8/9/2005)

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