The Association for Optometrists (AOP) has called for a law change concerning drivers and regular eye tests. A shocking 44% of AOP members surveyed said they had seen a patient within the last month who has continued driving despite their vision being below the legal standard.
Out of 2,000 members of the public surveyed, 47% of respondents agreed the laws surrounding vision for driving should be more rigorous.
To help improve eyesight standards, which according to healthcare professionals are some of the laxest in Europe, the AOP has suggested the UK implement a comprehensive vision check that is compulsory for all drivers. Currently, the only time driver’s vision is checked is at their practical driving test. This is when the assessor asks the learner to read a vehicle registration plate. The AOP suggests this comprehensive vision check should be administered every 10 years – but more frequently for drivers over the age of 70.
The Highway Code states that drivers must have the visual accuracy to read a vehicle registration plate from 20 metres away.
On Monday 23rd July the DVLA released its new eyesight campaign ‘Eye 735T’. This campaign encourages drivers to take the ‘number plate test’, which is a quick and easy way to check they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving.
Dr Wyn Parry, DVLA’s Senior Doctor said:
“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers 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.”
While the ‘number plate test’ helps reinforce the issues surrounding the dangers of poor sight and the importance of self-testing, it’s still not a compulsory task for drivers. If you’ve not had your sight checked for a while, why not take the ‘number plate test’ and see how your sight holds up? The DVLA advises that 5 car lengths or 8 parking bays can be an easy way to measure the distance yourself.