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VSP Vision Care supports DfT call for eye tests for elderly

Jeremy Chadwick

VSP Vision Care has backed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) plans to consider eye tests for drivers over the age of 70.

The plans are part of the DfT’s plans to improve road safety. A three-year cycle of repeat assessments is also under consideration.

For the first time more than 67% people aged 70 and over currently hold a full driving licence. That figure is up from 64% for a year ago.

Jeremy Chadwick (pictured), managing director at VSP Vision Care, said: “We would welcome mandatory eye testing for drivers who attain the age of 70 because eyesight can deteriorate without us noticing.

“We recommend having a professional eye test ideally every year or straight away if a problem arises. This should check vision over distance, as well as other visual defects, including problems seeing things in the central or peripheral vision.”

The DfT believes that while a driver should be able to drive at any age post-licence, with mental and physical capability deteriorating over time, additional tests should be put in place to ensure safety for everyone on the roads.

The current regulations see a 70-year-old driver renew his licence every three years, without any assessment, with a declaration of their eyesight health and other medical conditions that might impact their driving.

More than 4,600 drivers aged 70 and over had their licence revoked due to their eyesight last year. However, the DfT has said it will hold a full public consultation before making any changes legally.

An estimated 2,900 casualties take place in the UK each year due to drivers’ bad vision, according to road safety charity Brake.

Brake also recently called for stricter rules for young drivers, and pushed for companies to get involved in its upcoming road safety week.

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