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New call for better eyesight testing

7 August 2013

Regular eye tests for drivers could cut the number of casualties on UK roads by almost 3,000.

Sky News reports that road safety charity Brake, together with the DVLA and insurer RSA, has begun a campaign calling on motorists to visit the opticians at least every two years.

Failing to make sure your vision meets legal standards for the road is an offence.

However motorists are usually only tested for this during their driving exam, where they have to be able to read a number plate 20 metres away.

A survey of 1,000 drivers found 26% have not had an eye test in the last two years. And 3% - the equivalent to more than one million UK drivers - have never had one.

It also discovered there were 9% of drivers who need glasses or lenses, but do not always wear them behind the wheel. 

The Driving Eyesight Rules are available here.

Please note that:

  • the evidence offered by this report is difficult to substantiate as poor vision is only recorded as a contributory factor in less than 1% of reported road deaths and injuries, although this may be an under-estimate due to the difficulties in assessing whether poor eyesight played a role in accidents.
  • In 2011, 5,285 drivers and motorcyclists had their licences revoked because they could not pass a standard eye test, an increase of 8% since 2010.
  • There is only weak evidence of a link between poor vision and increased accident risk. However, research establishes how vision defects impair driving, and potentially increase crash risk.

More information and access to further evidence is available on The Road Safety Observatory

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