Brake is calling for the introduction of compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers, on the back of a survey which the charity says shows strong public support for the move.
In the Brake survey of 1,000 drivers, 87% of respondents supported drivers having to prove they have had a sight test every 10 years, when they renew their licence or photo card. Brake points to research by the RSA Insurance Group which indicates this would “significantly reduce the estimated 2,900 casualties caused by poor driver vision each year”.
In the survey, 25% of respondents admitted they have not had their eyes tested in more than two years, and 19% said they had put off visiting the optician despite noticing a problem. In addition, what Brake describes as “a shocking one in eight drivers” (12%) who know they need glasses or lenses to drive have done so without them in the past year.
Brake says the survey also indicates that more than 1.5 million UK drivers (4%) have never had their eyes tested, and one in eight (12%) have not had their eyes tested for more than five years.
Brake is urging the Government to introduce a requirement for drivers to prove a recent, professional eye test when applying for a provisional licence, and at least every 10 years thereafter. The charity says this would save the public purse at least £6.7m a year by preventing crashes.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a common sense, lifesaving move.
“Clearly the public agrees that the Government needs to act to tackle the alarming number of drivers taking a lax approach to their eyes.”
Mark Christer, managing director of personal insurance at RSA, said: "We want far more rigorous checks that drivers’ eyesight meets the minimum standards.
“The UK’s ‘number-plate test’ is a relic of the 1930s and it’s no wonder so many other EU countries have introduced more modern testing. It is time we did too.”