By Suzanne Randall, corporate account manager, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare
Official figures from national road safety charity Brake state that one in six drivers would fail an eyesight test.
Our experience suggests it is actually closer to one in three.
Legislation is in place to ensure that every employee using a display screen for work is provided with an eye test and glasses, if required, funded wholly by the company.
When did a PC ever kill anyone?
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare is calling for legislation to safeguard those who drive in the course of their work.
The current eyesight requirement for drivers is woefully inadequate.
Devised in the 1930s, the ‘number plate test’ is far from appropriate for the eyesight requirements of today’s drivers.
Good peripheral vision is vital, as well as the ability to refocus between instruments in the car, the road, and other road users.
All of these can be assessed through a proper eye examination. Indeed, these much fuller tests are already obligatory in the Republic of Ireland.
More comprehensive eyesight checks are essential but frequency is also a factor.
If we are to make our roads safer we must check drivers’ vision on a regular basis.
Ideally, this would be every two years, as recommended by the College of Optometrists, but it would be an improvement even if this coincided with the ten-yearly licence renewal.
The risks are clear, yet so many of us are guilty of doing nothing. It is often a case of passing the buck: who is responsible – the Government, the employer or the individual?
Cost is sometimes cited as a barrier and there are, of course, substantial costs associated with establishing legislation.
The cost of implementing an administratively simple company eyecare policy and testing employee eyesight is, however, minimal and insignificant compared to the expense of lost time, sick pay, loss of product, temporary labour, loss of contracts, legal fees, etc, following a collision.
If we continue to ignore the situation, the resulting human cost is immeasurable. If employers must test the eyesight of computer users, then surely drivers should also receive adequate eyecare?