Campaign aims to stop UK motorists ‘driving blind’

10.22 | 11 July 2018 | | 5 comments

A new campaign is urging the Government to take ‘direct action’ to reduce the number of traffic collisions caused by drivers with defective vision.

The Driving Blind Campaign calls for a change in legislation to require drivers to be tested by an optician before their driving test and at every subsequent licence renewal application. The campaign includes a petition (available on the link above) which people are being urged to sign to show their support.

The campaign bemoans the current UK driving test for neglecting any assessment of peripheral vision, described as a ‘critical factor’ in a driver’s ability to judge the full extent of their surroundings.

Driving Blind was launched on the back of Association of Optometrists figures which estimate that there are 3,000 casualties on UK roads every year where poor vision is a ‘key factor’.

The campaign also points to figures obtained from the DVLA which indicate that nearly 50,000 motorists had their licence revoked or refused between 2012 to 2016 due to poor vision.

Campaign spokesman Nigel Corbett will present a ‘Good Vision Manifesto’ to the House of Commons – outlining the call for new drivers to be vision tested and certified by an optician, with follow-up tests every decade up to the age of 70 years, and then every three years thereafter.

Nigel Corbett said: “To its shame, the UK allows most new drivers to be responsible for controlling a ton of metal, when the only assessment of their visual capacity is a basic vision test conducted by a non-medically qualified driving test centre worker.

“In theory, they can then drive for the rest of their lives without ever having to prove their vision is fit for purpose.  We need drivers to provide evidence from an optical professional that their eyes are roadworthy before they get their licence and then at regular intervals over their driving career.”



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    Perhaps they should implement an eye test as soon as you have an accident – that way you can rule that out instead of implementing across the board rules. That way the party at fault could pay through their insurance as it’s the drivers responsibility for their body to be in good condition to get behind the wheel – otherwise they’ll be making a rule if your in a bad mood got a flu as there are plenty of things that can affect an accident.

    I agree the fact that it needs to be addressed but if u get behind the wheel you have a responsibility for other road users and if you caused the accident then you should be responsible if you can’t see where ya going why are you driving it’s not rocket science.

    Mark bishop, Wolverhampton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    What about colour blindness ? Some people cannot see if traffic lights are red !

    susan feest, bath
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    Human visual acuity at night falls below the threshold for being legally blind. Even in a well lit nighttime scene our vision is severely degraded, so that being the case, why don’t more accidents happen at night?

    Duncan MacKillop, Lower Quinton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    Successive recent studies have shown there is significant public support (around 90%) for the introduction of compulsory vision screening for drivers. We have clear legislation applicable to the rules governing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for example, yet the rules applicable to driving with poor vision are based on self-regulation. So are drivers with poor vision deemed to be less of a danger to other road users and pedestrians? Governments have previously argued that uncorrected poor vision is not a major factor in road traffic accidents, but I wonder how many drivers would really be willing to admit to a police officer at the scene of an accident that their poor vision was a contributory factor?

    This campaign is offering a simple and pragmatic solution to ensure the public is not driving blind in order to help make our UK roads safer and reduce the number of people needlessly killed or injured as a result of poor driver vision.

    Nigel Corbett, Bristol
    Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

    My wife used to work in the optical profession and please believe me, the level of lack of knowledge (I’m putting this kindly) of people who are driving with poor eyesight is astonishing.

    In terms of the campaign, yes I know that opticians will always want more business, but let’s get behind the spirit of this. It is surely not unreasonable for a safe system approach to intervene once every 10 years and check eyesight. An eyesight test costs only around £20 and the cost should be borne by the driver or wrapped into the overall license renewal application fee.

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (20) | Disagree (1)

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