GEM Motoring Assist says better regulation of eyesight tests for drivers would cut collisions and make roads safer.
The road safety charity says a detailed test of a driver’s visual acuity and field of view should be required every 10 years.
GEM points out that the eyesight test was introduced to the driving test in 1937 and has only been amended in minor ways over the years 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.
GEM describes the test as “crude and outdated”, and says that “many campaigns” over the years have attempted without success to persuade the Government to introduce measures that would “make drivers take a more responsible view on the subject”.
GEM believes that regular mandatory eyesight tests for drivers would offer a simple and effective way of reducing collisions caused by defective vision.
David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, 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.
“The time has come to accept that the current driver eyesight test simply isn’t fit for purpose.
“What’s more, many people are staying behind the wheel into their eighties and beyond. This, coupled with the greater volume of traffic and an increase in distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle, points to the clear need for more regular and detailed eyesight testing.”