A survey of 127 fleet operators by Brake's Fleet Safety Forum shows that 42% of fleets do not offer eyesight testing for drivers through a company scheme, while 56% said they do not record when drivers last had their eyes tested, either through a company scheme or privately.
Employers have a duty to manage the risk posed by their at-work drivers, by ensuring that this most basic requirement of safe driving is being checked. Being an experienced and skilled driver who is aware of the dangers of the roads is meaningless if you are unable to spot hazards in time due to poor eyesight, says Brake.
The Fleet Safety Forum's ‘Look Sharp' campaign consists of a resource pack for managers, including a poster and electronic guidance document for managers with additional advice to circulate to drivers.
The Forum is running a one-day workshop, sponsored by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, on January 24, 2012, in Bristol, giving fleet managers and road safety professionals an opportunity to hear from experts on what employers need to be doing and why, with practical advice and a best-practice case study.
As an added incentive, non-subscribers can attend the workshop and receive a year's subscription to the Fleet Safety Forum for half price. Click here to view a flyer for the workshop.
Eyesight needs to be tested regularly throughout a driver's lifetime as eyesight deterioration and disease won't always be noticeable to the driver; experts recommend everyone has an eyesight test every two years or more frequently if required, and whenever there is a cause for concern. However, it is common for drivers not to follow this advice unless compelled.
• According to the International Glaucoma Association, someone can lose 40% of their vision before they realise they have a problem
• Every year in the UK alone, an estimated 12.5 million people who are due a test do not have one
• One in six drivers cannot see well enough to pass the basic eyesight test
Another Brake survey released earlier this year shows strong public support for regular eyesight testing; 75% of drivers support compulsory eyesight testing for drivers every five years. Employers who take the initiative and introduce regular checks while it's not currently a legal requirement, are unlikely to meet with resistance from employees.