Driver support eyesight reforms
Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist says three quarters of its members back long-overdue changes to driver eyesight regulations.
A survey of more than 2,500 GEM members reveals that 75% support mandatory eye testing for anyone returning to driving following a court ban or medical revocation, with 71 percent also in favour of requiring a current eye test certificate to be provided at the time of renewing a photocard licence.
DVLA figures indicate that nearly 50,000 motorists had their licence revoked or refused between 2012 and 2016 due to poor vision. A 2014 study by the road safety pressure group, Brake, showed that 1.5 million UK motorists had never had their eyes tested.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: "If you can't see properly, you shouldn't be driving. Poor eyesight is linked to more than 3,000 casualties every year. We are worried that there are just too many people driving whose eyesight has deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
'We believe it is entirely practical and sensible to require a test of visual acuity and field of view every 10 years, something that would fit in with licence renewal. Tests of this kind would not only make our roads safer, saving lives, disability and many millions of pounds through the reduction in the number of crashes, but they would also play a vital role valuable tool in the early diagnosis of many other costly medical conditions, irrespective of driving.
'Lastly, we want to see much more widespread and regular enforcement of eyesight regulations so that anyone with poor vision thinks twice before putting themselves and others at risk by getting behind the wheel.
GEM believes that regular mandatory eyesight tests for drivers would offer more than just a simple and effective way of reducing collisions caused by defective vision. The organisation is urging as many people as possible to show their support for reforms to eyesight regulations and for road safety, by signing the 'Driving Blind' petition.
'The time has come to accept that the current driver eyesight test simply isn't fit for purpose,' added Neil Worth. 'Self-certification is not acceptable for drivers, especially as more and more people expect to stay behind the wheel into their eighties and beyond.
'This, coupled with the greater volume of traffic and an increase in distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle, points to the clear need for more regular and detailed eyesight testing.'
Nearly 2,500 GEM members responded to a 2018 GEM survey with the following clear messages:
Anyone returning to driving following a ban by a court or following a medical revocation should be required to provide a current comprehensive eye test certificate:
supported by more than 75% of respondents
Every licence holder should be required to provide a current comprehensive eye test certificate at the time of renewing a photocard licence (every 10 years):
supported by 70% of respondents
Opticians should be able to share driver data much more easily with DVLA:
supported by 63% of respondents