Road Safety News
 

Government urged to introduce regular driver eye examinations

Tuesday 17th January 2012

Specsavers and Brake are calling on the Government to introduce biannual compulsory eye examinations for drivers, following the death of a teenager when an 87-year-old driver mounted a pavement.

The driver, who had failed an on-the-spot police eye examination three days earlier, also died a month later from injuries sustained in the crash.

The appeal follows statistics revealing that one in five road users has never had an eye examination. Research carried out by Brunel University and Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) also reveals that drivers with poor eyesight are 62% more likely to stray out of their lane when driving.

Paul Carroll, Specsavers’ director of professional services, says: “We have worked with road safety charity Brake for a number of years and would again urge the Government to support our call for compulsory eye examinations for drivers, at least every two years, and for drivers to carry a spare pair of glasses in their vehicle.

“If you cannot see the TV at home or read a newspaper you would automatically reach for your glasses, yet to get into your car and drive without them is apparently acceptable. It most definitely is not and we shall continue to work with Brake to prevent more unnecessary deaths on our roads.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, says: “It is truly horrendous to hear of lives being cut short and families suffering as a result of poor driver eyesight.

“Drivers need to realise the vital importance of getting their eyes tested at least every two years, even if you think your vision is fine. It’s a key part of your responsibility as a driver to make sure you’re not risking your own life and other people’s.

“We are also renewing our calls for the Government to introduce compulsory eyesight tests, to ensure all drivers are fit for the road and so help prevent further tragedies.”

For more information contact Jordanne Young or Thomas Johnson on 020 7053 6000.

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I think it's strange that the suggestion is only that people over the age of 70 should be required to have a regular eye test: as a short-sighted person, I am aware of my visual short-comings and have regular eye tests (every 1 year for contact lenses, every 2 years for glasses) - I find it shocking that a lot of people are seemingly unaware of any deterioration in their sight - or - far worse - are aware, but think they are "OK" (usually this means that the deterioration has been gradual, and they have adapted in other spheres of there life and don't consider that driving is particularly risky if you can't see properly) - this means that I am actually a far better bet than a lot of people who choose to believe they don't need any help. The answer has to be regular eye tests for everyone.
Alison, Staffs

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+1

How does going for an eye test increase the cost of road transport?

Would you really want someone with poor eye sight driving just so they can nip to Sainsbury's for a paper and a loaf? There are alternatives to driving for those who aren't fit due to age or ill health. And for many people there are simple cures for deteriorating eye sight that means they can continue driving. And there is the added benefit that eye exams can identify other health issues before they become a problem providing a benefit in terms of the reduction in cost of treatment for more advanced conditions.

Being fit to drive is an individual responsibility, this would be a step toward people taking that.
Dave, Leeds

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+1

But that's still 90 million pounds per year on your figures.

And it's not only the user that pays. The cost of road transport increases and that has to be passed on to the consumer.

This is an extraordinarily expensive burden therefore the authorities really have to demonstrate a proportionate danger actually exists and that other schemes could not provide better results.

And that doesn't address other costs of this proposal such as care costs or the loss of freedom and quality of life for OAPs.
Dave Finney - Slough

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0

User pays - you want the privilege & responsibility of driving/riding? Prove you're fit to do it. A full eye test is £15, not enough to break the bank.
Dave, Leeds

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+1

Having a thorough eye test should be part of getting your licence in the first place too. Being asked to read a number plate on the other side of the road isn't really a good enough test in this day and age is it? Biannual is a bit much though, every 5 years as part of an overall driving assessment might make more sense.
Dave, Leeds

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And the cost of this law?

Conservatively perhaps 150 million pounds per year (based on a discounted £10 test and 30m drivers/riders)?

That is an extraordinarily expensive burden in a recession and I suspect other schemes could easily provide far better results for lower cost.
Dave Finney - Slough

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0