Drivers should take eye test every 10 years – GEM

11.24 | 24 January 2018 | | 6 comments

GEM Motoring Assist has called for better regulation of driver eyesight testing, saying a more robust system would cut collisions.

The eyesight test was introduced as part of the driving test in 1937 and has only been amended in minor ways since then, to reflect changing number plate sizes. It is the only eyesight test drivers are required to undertake until they reach the age of 70 years.   

According to GEM, the test is ‘crude and outdated, as it only measures visual acuity, or ‘sharpness’. GEM says the test should also examine a driver’s field of view, to check whether motorists can see and react to what’s happening around them.

GEM believes that regular mandatory eyesight tests for drivers would offer a simple and effective way of reducing collisions caused by defective vision.

Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “Speeding, drink or drug driving, driving unlicensed… these are responsible for a fraction of the crashes on our roads compared with failing to look properly, according to all the official data.

“Yet our current testing regime is crude and outdated.

“We believe that all drivers should ensure they have an eye test every two years, just to ensure there are no safety concerns about their vision and to deal with any issues at an early stage.

“We would also like to see every new driver producing evidence of a recent eye test when first applying for a licence, with a mandatory test every 10 years in line with licence renewal.

“The current driver eyesight test has not been fit for purpose for a long time, and we believe it is simply no longer acceptable for drivers to self-certify.”


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    Road safety is broken!

    Maybe take a number of indicators :-

    Pedestrian casualties at nearly 25% of all casualties showing a skewing of risk to our most vulnerable road users.

    Endemic contravention of laws such as phone usage.

    Non-compliance with speed limits.

    A press that seems to side with anarchy with all its talk of “war on the motorist” so endorsing rule breaking as normal.

    A reduction in traffic officers.

    A reduction in road safety education resources both national and local.

    A reduction in traffic engineering and town planning resources to design and build an urban realm that is fit for active travel.


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    Not sure what ‘road safety is broken’ actually means. Keeping the roads safe is in the hands of the individuals who use it, under the guidance and regulation of the authorities.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    I agree with Derek

    Yes, Road Safety is broken and needs fixing. We need a national Road Safety Agency that is not embedded within the DfT. The devolution of road safety to local authorities in an austere economic local authority environment is failing to lift our vision of livability and danger reduction for communities.

    Whilst the Accident Investigation Team will not fill that hole, I don’t doubt that it will be beneficial. We need an agency able to look at and promote the bigger picture of transport and health, and road danger reduction.

    And by “road safety” I mean “making roads safer” rather than a focus on “road safety education” which I accept is the primary objective of RSGB.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    GEM motoring assist are right, regular eyesight testing should be mandatory for all drivers. The fact that they have been calling for this since the year dot highlights a very serious problem that exists with ‘UK Road Safety’ in that there is no organisation at the centre who are in overall charge and capable of delivering this necessary change. The responsibility for delivering road safety was devolved to the individual road authorities in 1988 leaving a black hole in the centre. If and when we finally get the Accident Investigation Team that PACTS and RAC Foundation are calling for we may finally get action on this any many other issues that are leading to road deaths. The fact that we are not seeing a year on year drop in the level of accidents should be setting alarm bells going. Road safety is broken and needs fixing if we cannot deliver common sense improvements like ensuring that all drivers have adequate eyesight to drive.

    Derek Hertfordshire
    Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

    I would agree that ‘failing to look properly’ has absolutely nothing to do with poor eyesight just very poor road safety skills.

    bob craven
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    I don’t think ‘failing to look properly’ as quoted by Mr Worth is actually a sign of defective eyesight – it’s more down to impatience, taking a chance and being in too much of a hurry to be bothered to look properly in the first place, even for those blessed with perfect eyesight.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

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