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AutomotiveLegal Eyesight Standards Not Met by Over 900,000 UK Motorists

Legal Eyesight Standards Not Met by Over 900,000 UK Motorists

A recent campaign to promote road safety in the UK has highlighted a concerning issue: over 900,000 British drivers would fail to meet even the most basic eyesight standard for driving. The “Is Your Vision Roadworthy?” campaign was a collaborative effort between leading motoring organisations, optical associations, eye care charities, and police forces throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.

During the campaign, police officers throughout the country requested that motorists take part in a roadside vision screening. The results showed that 2.2% of all number plate tests, which involve reading a car number plate from 20 meters away, resulted in failure. Astonishingly, 85% of drivers who failed the screening had their license revoked on the spot under legislation known as Cassie’s Law.

The campaign also highlighted that advancing age increases a driver’s risk of falling short of the legal eyesight standards. The average age of those unable to read a number plate from 20 metres was 69.3 years, but the youngest driver to fail was 30 and the oldest was 90. Additionally, men appeared to have the biggest blind spot when it came to vision and driving, making up three-quarters of those who failed the number plate test.

With traffic volumes set to peak over the Early May Bank Holiday, the charity Eye Health UK estimates that over half a million car journeys will be made by drivers whose vision falls below the legal limit. This is due to an undiagnosed or untreated vision condition, or simply because a driver isn’t wearing the eyewear they have been prescribed for driving. Shockingly, a third of those who failed the number plate test and had been prescribed corrective lenses were not wearing them at the time they were stopped.

All drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure their vision meets the eyesight standards for driving every time they get behind the wheel. Uncorrected defective eyesight is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000, three penalty points, and possible disqualification. It also increases a person’s risk of a collision and can invalidate their insurance. Yet, DVLA stats show that fewer than half of motorists (48.5%) are aware of the eyesight standards for driving.

Optometrists recommend that everyone has their eyes checked every two years to ensure their vision is fit for the road and meets the full legal eyesight requirements for driving, including having an adequate field of vision. However, the uptake of routine eye tests has fallen over recent years, with 17.5 million Brits currently overdue a trip to the opticians. Shockingly, 42% of drivers undertaking the roadside vision screening admitted they had not had an eye test in the last two years, as recommended.

Impaired vision prevents motorists from reacting to hazards and causes fatigue. Around 3,000 people are killed or injured by a driver with failing eyesight every year in the UK. The consequences of poor eyesight while driving can be devastating, as Emma Damen, daughter of Jim Tassell, tragically experienced when her father was killed by a driver who could not see more than two meters ahead, even though the legal requirement is 20 meters.

Department of Transport statistics also show that glare from sunlight has been among the contributing factors in 33,399 casualties over the past decade to road users. On average, 653 people were killed or experienced serious injuries each year. Conditions such as cataracts, which affect the vision of over half (54%) of those over 60, can increase sensitivity to light and glare caused by the sun and oncoming headlights.

As Professor Steve Taylor, adviser to FODO – The Association for Eyecare Providers, one of the organisations behind the “Is Your Vision Roadworthy?” campaign, points out, 90% of the information needed to drive is visual.

To obtain practical guidance and information on maintaining good vision for driving, as well as details on the legal eyesight requirements and eye conditions that must be reported to the DVLA, please visit: www.visionanddriving.info.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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