Reacting to British Medical Journal findings that a third of motorists would fail the basic driving test eyesight test if they had to repeat it, Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) chief examiner Bryan Lunn called on fleet operators to check the vision of their drivers, saying it was as important as 'any health and safety issue'.
'Drivers too should seek regular eye tests, particularly if they are older,' he said.
IAM chief executive Christopher Bullock said: 'It is illegal to drive any vehicle without corrective eyewear if a motorist's vision falls below the minimum standard.
'But many drivers do so because they haven't had a recent eye test.
'Even if a driver can pass the standard daytime number plate test, that is no use at all as a check on night blindness, tunnel vision or depth perception.'
Bullock described the standard test, which was devised in 1935, as 'totally inadequate' for assessing a person's ability to drive safely in congested traffic conditions.
'Roadside furniture and other hazards make huge demands on a driver's observation skills,' he said.
'The IAM believes that because sight deteriorates as part of the ageing process, it is right that police should carry out eye sight testing on drivers where appropriate.'
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said there were currently no plans to roll out a new roadside eyesight test but that it was an issue worthy of consideration.