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One in three drivers fail legal vision requirements

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Research reveals one in three UK drivers is putting themself and other road users at risk by not meeting the legal vision standard for driving.

The statistic comes as a result of vision screenings carried out by Specsavers at county shows and town centres in the UK this year as part of the optician’s annual Drive Safe Roadshow.

A corresponding survey conducted at these shows revealed that drivers are unaware of their vision failings, as more than four out of five people with substandard vision claimed theirs was good enough to drive safely.

Paul Carroll, director of professional services at Specsavers, said: “In the UK, while drivers are asked to read a number plate at the time of their practical driving test, their vision is not then re-evaluated until the age of 70. Good vision is essential for drivers, ensuring they are safe and aware on the roads to help reduce the danger to themselves and other road users.”

The survey also found that two out of five people have not had their eyes tested within the recommended timeframe of once every two years. Only a quarter of specs-wearing drivers carry a spare pair of glasses in their car, even though more than two out of five of the participants need them.

Carroll concluded “As vision can change gradually over time - something many are unaware of - it is essential that drivers maintain a high level of vision with regular eye examinations. Any changes that do then occur can be more easily spotted in the controlled environment of an eye examination.”

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  • reg dixon - 16/11/2012 11:39

    The test for eyesight appears to be the ability to read a number plate at a prescribed distance. This is not a good test of competence to drive, but it can be a good test of ability to read direction signs. A problem with many types of spectacles is that they limit peripheral vision which in my opinion is very dangerous.

  • Paul Green - 16/11/2012 12:46

    I would agree with you Reg. I think that whilst having adequate eyesight is very important for driving, it is much more important to be able to idendify hazards developing and be competent to deal with them. I also think that whenever the photograph needs updating on a photocard licence then the application should be accompanied by a GP's healthcheck report, which would include a basic eyesight check, similar to the HGV licencing system. That way it would become a compulsory part of maintaining ALL driving licences (i.e. including private motorists) rather than just part of a business's risk management systems for work-related drivers only.

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