Survey reveals many drivers fail to get sight tested

A campaign launched by Brake, the road safety charity, calls on all drivers to sharpen up their act by getting their eyesight tested every two years to ensure their vision meets legal standards and they aren’t putting people in danger. The campaign by road safety charity Brake, working alongside the DVLA and insurer RSA, comes as research shows many drivers are failing to ensure they can see properly on every journey.

A survey of 1,000 drivers by Brake finds that a quarter of drivers (26%) haven’t had a vision test in the last two years. A worrying one in eleven (9%) admit not visiting the optician for five years or more, or never: for 3% it’s been more than a decade and 3% (the equivalent to more than one million UK drivers) have never been.

At the same time, many drivers who know they need glasses or lenses fail to wear them on every journey. Nearly one in ten (9%) who need glasses or lenses don’t always wear them when driving. Furthermore, of those who claimed they don’t need glasses or lenses, one in three (32%) haven’t had their eyes checked in the last two years, so can’t be certain their vision is up to scratch.

Research by Brake shows that failing to ensure your vision is good enough to drive is estimated to result in 2,900 road casualties a year, causing trauma and devastation to many victims.

To raise awareness among drivers about their responsibilities, the DVLA has launched an online education campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Being a driver is a huge responsibility and means you need to look after your own health and fitness to drive as well as making sure your vehicle is roadworthy. If your vision isn’t up to scratch you are posing an enormous risk on roads, as being able to see properly is fundamental to being a good driver. Your eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing and at the wheel that can be lethal. That’s why it is so important to get tested every two years and always wear glasses or lenses if you need them when driving.

Jan Chandaman, Head of Medical Licensing Policy at DVLA, said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and licensing rules play an important part in keeping our roads safe. Reducing road casualties is a top priority for the government. All drivers are required by law to meet the appropriate eyesight standard at all times while driving. DVLA regularly remind drivers of the ongoing requirement to meet the eye sight standard and that failure to meet the standard is an offence – this is also included in the Highway Code. The number plate test is a simple assessment of vision and can be reproduced regularly by motorists to check whether they meet the standards themselves and by the police at the roadside.”

Driver advice
Brake recommends all drivers get their eyes checked by an optician at least every two years, or straight away if they notice any problems or deterioration. Always wear glasses or lenses when driving if you need them, even on short journeys. Brake also suggests that you keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle if you’re prone to forget.

Regular visits to the opticians will also ensure you’re looking after your eye health, and able to catch any early signs of eye disease so they can be treated before they become a major problem.

Legal requirements state that if your vision (with glasses or lenses if you need them) is below 6/12 (0.5) or your visual field is less than 120o, you need to inform the DVLA. Certain conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts, also need to be reported to the DVLA, who will conduct an assessment to determine if you are safe to drive. Ask your optician for more advice or visit the DVLA’s index to find out what must be reported.

If you are worried that your eyesight might be affecting your ability to drive, or simply want an eye test, contact Penzer Opticians now to make an appointment.