We all recall our driving test and the examiner asking us to read a number plate from 20 meters, but did you know there is no mandatory eye examination aside from this first test?Motorists must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency if they have problems with their eyesight but their licence will continue to be renewed if they do not admit to having difficulties.
When drivers pass the age of 70, the emphasis changes a little. Drivers must actively make a declaration every three years that they are fit to drive. As part of that they must confirm that they meet the minimum eyesight requirement.
The current laws concerning vision requirements for drivers are the most relaxed in Europe but a recent campaign by the Association of Optometrists has called for a change in the law, and that drivers should have compulsory eye tests every 10 years.
Nine out of 10 optometrists believe the current rules do not go far enough and one in three optometrists say they have seen patients in the last month who continue to drive with vision below the legal standard, their association said.
Data from the Department for Transport shows seven people were killed and 63 were seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads last year when “uncorrected, defective eyesight” was a contributory factor. But the Department for Transport still insists that current requirements were adequate.
Good eyesight is a basic requirement for safe driving. Poor vision increases the risk of collisions due to the driver’s inability to recognise and react in time to a hazard or the behaviour of other road users.
Certainly, these recent studies have been an eye opener to consider the need for a change in law and the need for compulsory eye tests.