Number plate test ‘an easy way to regularly self-check eyesight’

09.37 | 24 September 2021 | | 1 comment

Fewer than 50% of motorists are aware that they must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away, new research from the DVLA shows.

The survey, carried out as part of the agency’s Number Plate Test campaign, shows just 48.5% of drivers are aware of this essential eyesight requirement.

With more drivers set to resume their daily commutes and undertake the school run, as traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, the DVLA is using the campaign to call on drivers to ensure they take the 20-metre number plate test.

The DVLA says the test is quick and easy to take – and is ‘an easy way to regularly self-check eyesight’.

It is offering examples of how to measure the 20-metre distance, which it says is the same as five car lengths, or the width of eight parking bays.

The test aims to ensure that drivers meet the minimum eyesight standards before getting behind the wheel.

The agency is also urging anyone with concerns about their eyesight to visit their optician for an eye test – and for drivers to have their eyes tested at least every two years or as soon as they notice any changes to their vision.

Lynette Rose, director of strategy, policy and communications at the DVLA, said: “The number plate test is a simple and effective way for motorists to check their eyesight meets the required standard for driving which includes reading a number plate clearly from 20 metres.

“Anyone can do the test at any time. Twenty metres is typically around the length of five cars parked next to each other – you can test yourself on whether you can clearly read a number plate of the furthest car.

“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for motorists to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician – don’t wait for your next check-up.”



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    This sounds like a fudge on behalf of the DVLA to avoid the introduction of any mandatory eye testing regime. It should be possible for a database of test records again licence number to be set up in agreement with the opticians.

    Derek Cozens, Hertfordshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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