Government revises driving eyesight and epilepsy standards

12.00 | 11 March 2013 |

Revised minimum driving licence standards for eyesight and epilepsy will apply under new rules announced last week by Stephen Hammond, road safety minister (Licence Bureau).

The changes, which came into force on 8 March, apply to drivers and riders with epilepsy, while for bus and lorry drivers there is a new relaxed visual acuity standard for the “weaker eye” when each eye is separately examined.

Car and motorcycle drivers who have only ever suffered seizures while asleep may now be considered for a licence after one year, instead of the current requirement of three years. The new rules will also allow drivers who have only ever suffered a seizure that had no impact on consciousness or their ability to act, to apply for a driving licence one year from the date of their first seizure.

Stephen Hammond said: “Road safety is a top priority for the Government and our licensing rules play an important part in keeping our roads safe. We must make sure that only those who are safe to drive do so, while at the same time avoiding placing unnecessary restrictions on people’s independence.

“These changes strike the right balance in allowing as many people as possible to drive, without compromising safety.”

David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, said: “Looking at things from a road safety perspective, poor vision is a significant factor and, for drivers both young and old, regular eyesight tests are extremely important. By DVLA regulation, photocard driving licences must be renewed every 10 years and this should also act as a reminder for motorists to get their eyes checked against the required standards.

“Frequent, professional eyesight tests would also help detect problems, such as glaucoma, at a much earlier stage. Even with changes to medical standards for licence holders, it is still up to the driver to take care of their eyesight.”

Click here to read the full Licence Bureau report.


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