Drivers urged to have regular eye tests

New legislation is now in place to protect road users from drivers with poor eyesight with important provisions to demand that drivers take responsibility for their vision standards according to the Optical Confederation (OC).

OC, along with road safety charity Brake and insurance group RSA, met with Lord Attlee and officials in late March 2013 to discuss the eye care provisions of the new Motor Vehicle (Driving Licenses) Amendment Regulations 2013.

The Government reconfirmed its position that they wish to retain the number plate test, however they explained that drivers also need to have visual acuity of 6/12 to drive safely, which means they need to have regular eye tests. Visual acuity is acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain.

Following the extensive period of consultation, the Government has revised the licence application and renewal forms to include a declaration that the applicant meets the visual standards and has never been advised by an optometrist, or doctor that their vision falls below the required standard.

Mark Nevin on behalf of the Optical Confederation said, “Whilst we do not agree with the Government that the number plate test is a suitable assessment of drivers’ vision, we are pleased that they have accepted our suggested revisions to the application forms. We look forward to working with the Government to give a clear message that drivers must always drive with good vision.”

Geoff Roberson, on behalf of the Optical Confederation, continued, “All drivers should have regular eye tests and seek professional advice if they have any doubt about their vision.”