Drivers should have to prove their vision ‘meets the legal standard’ every 10 years, rather than only when they initially take the driving test, according to the Association of Optometrists (AoP).
The AoP, which has recently launched a new campaign titled ‘Don’t Swerve a sight test’, says one in three optometrists have seen patients in the last month who continue to drive with vision below the legal standard.
AoP research also suggests that just 40% of drivers would stop driving if they were told their vision, even with glasses or contact lenses, was below the legal standard for driving.
The AoP campaign, timed to coincide with Road Safety Week 2017, calls for drivers to have a sight test every two years to ‘maximise their eye health’ and ‘help reduce the risk of accidents on UK roads’.
Figures from the DfT shows seven people were killed, and 63 seriously injured, in collisions last year in which ‘uncorrected, defective eyesight’ was identified as a contributory factor.
However, AoP points to figures which suggest that approximately 2,900 road casualties are caused by poor vision every year.
At present, motorists must read a number plate from 20m (65ft) during the practical driving test – but there is no follow-up check. Motorists are also required to self-report to the DVLA if they subsequently develop eyesight problems.
Optometrist Dr Julie Anne-Little told BBC News that Britain ‘falls behind many other countries’ with regard to the regulation of drivers’ eyesight.
Dr Anne-Little said: "Because sight changes can be gradual, often people don’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time.”
Category: Fit to drive.