Good eyesight ‘vital’ for road safety

13.17 | 24 September | | 1 comment

Road Safety Wales is encouraging motorists to have an eye test every two years, or more often if suggested by an optician, as part of a national campaign.

National Eye Health Week (24-30 Sept) aims to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular eye tests.

Road Safety Wales says good eyesight is vital when using the road, adding that although eyesight often deteriorates with age, eye conditions can develop at any time of live.

Learner drivers must prove they can read a number plate from a distance of 20m (65ft) during their practical test – and are then legally responsible for ensuring their sight remains good enough to drive thereafter.

However, there have been repeated calls for better regulation of eyesight tests for drivers – including by the Driving Blind Campaign who says drivers should be tested by an optician before their driving test and at every subsequent licence renewal application.

Yhe Association of Optometrists estimates that there are 3,000 casualties on UK roads every year where poor vision is a ‘key factor’.

Teresa Ciano, chair of Road Safety Wales, said: “We would recommend having an eye test every two years, or more often if your optician suggests it.

“This can not only help to make sure you meet the minimum eyesight standards for driving or riding, but may also identify some conditions early before they develop.

“Please be aware that if you drive with eyesight below the minimum legal standard you could face a fine of up to £1000.

“Road Safety Wales is supporting National Eye Health Week through its website and social media channels, giving reminders of the importance of regular eye tests and common conditions that could compromise the safety of all road users.”


 

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    I work as an Occupational Therapist for the NHS at a centre in the South East. I carry out driving assessments for clients referred by the DVLA, Motability and healthcare professionals. We assess clients ability to continue driving with long term medical conditions, as well as assessing for adaptions to vehicles for both drivers and learner drivers. We also train drivers in these adaptions and assess proficiency.
    Aside from assessing physical and cognitive abilities we always have to check that our clients can read a number plate from the DVLA required distance of 20 metres.
    Some clients that I see will only be able to read a number plate with their glasses on, however many of them do not realise that this means that they need to wear their glasses for driving.
    If they cannot read a number plate at the required distance, (with or without glasses) after 3 attempts, they are sent away to the Opticians. We cannot take them out for the practical driving assessment until they can read the number plate.


    Carol Goatham, Maidstone
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