A consortium comprising Brake, the insurer RSA, and the Optical Confederation has called on the Government to revisit legislation on eyesight testing standards for new drivers.
The group is recommending driver eyesight be tested by a qualified optician when a driver first applies for a licence and at all licence renewals every 10 years.
Recent research by RSA found that crashes caused by poor vision cost the UK an estimated £33 million and result in nearly 2,900 casualties a year.
Cross party MPs, including John Leech, Barry Sheerman, and David Amess, believe the UK’s current interpretation of the EU Driving Licence Directive, which sets drivers’ eyesight standards, severely lags behind other European countries. They tabled an Early Day Motion on 26 February to raise those standards.
John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said: “The current UK number plate test falls far short of the standards for driver vision recommended in the European Directive. The Government needs to look again at the issue in order to reduce the number of crashes caused by poor vision and to improve road safety across the country.”
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: “Being able to see clearly what’s in front and around you is fundamental to safe, responsible driving. That’s why we urge drivers to have an eye test at least every two years, even if you think your sight is fine.
“We also hope to see common sense winning through and the Government tightening up the rules on driver eyesight. To make our roads safer and ensure everyone is fit to drive we need a scientific eyesight test at the start of your driving career and compulsory re-tests at least every 10 years thereafter.”
For more information contact Brake on 01484 559909.