Better vision checks needed for drivers

Friday, November 30, 2018

One in five UK residents haven’t had any vision check since passing their driving test, according to research from Vision Express.


Findings from comprehensive eye tests conducted on over 1,000 UK residents have revealed that one in five – which equates to 7.6 million licence-holders – haven’t had any vision check since reading a number plate at 20m when passing their driving test.


While only 1% of the public failed to read a vehicle registration plate from 20m, two in three were found by optometrists to be wearing an incorrect prescription.


Vision Express has been campaigning for changes to sight standards for drivers since 2015 under the banner ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’, following Government statistics revealing that around 3,000 road casualties each year are down to poor driver vision.


Vision Express director of professional services, Jay Ghadiali, said: “There is no question that road casualty figures with vision identified as a causal factor are hugely underreported. We believe the annual 3,000 figure is the tip of the iceberg.”


In November, industry regulator AOP reported that 44% of optometrists have examined patients who drive with vision that falls below the legal standard. A separate poll, by the DVLA, found that 50% of motorists were unaware of the minimum sight standards needed for a licence.


Jay added: “The 20m test was devised in 1937. We now have sophisticated ways of testing vision that makes the number plate check obsolete. We’re calling for it to be stopped and replaced with mandatory eye tests every 10 years to coincide with licence renewals, and we’ll continue to gather the data to convince the Department for Transport and policy-makers that this is vital.”



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