DVLA eyesight awareness campaign not enough to tackle issue of poor driver vision.
The DVLA has launched a new national eyesight awareness campaign reminding drivers of the need to regularly check their eyesight. All drivers must, by law, meet the minimum eyesight standards at all times when driving – including being able to read a number plate from 20 metres. Brake, the road safety charity, has been working with Vision Express through the ‘Driving for Zero’ campaign, to raise awareness of the dangers of poor eye health and to call for more to be done to tackle the issue of defective driver vision.
Commenting, Joshua Harris, Director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“Any campaign to remind drivers to check their eyesight is welcome, however, awareness raising falls far short of tackling the true problem of poor driver vision, where a change in legislation is clearly required. Brake is calling for the law to be strengthened, to require drivers to prove to the DVLA they have had a recent, professional vision test when they take their driving test; and to be required to have tests during their driving life on a regular basis.
“It should be obvious to all that the ability to see clearly is fundamental to safe driving and so we urge the Government to act to address the shortfall in the law and introduce mandatory eye tests for drivers.
“At present, driver eyesight is only checked through a 20m licence plate reading before the driving test, after which a driver may never again be required to prove that their vision is fit for driving. With eye specialists stating that the 20m test is inadequate in assessing driver vision, and research showing someone can lose up to 40% of their vision without being aware, it is time for mandatory eye testing to be introduced.”
Commenting, Jonathan Lawson, CEO at Vision Express said:
“It’s a positive first step to see the DVLA is spearheading a public awareness campaign to encourage drivers to take their eye health seriously – something Vision Express has been campaigning for. It is estimated that as many as 1.5 million UK licence holders have never even had an eye test and road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties.
“However, the ‘number plate’ test was introduced over 80 years ago before the Second World War and eye testing has advanced significantly since then. The NHS recommends people should have an eye test every two years, so we would encourage the DVLA to remind drivers that whilst passing the number plate might be the legal limit, the Government’s own advice is to have a full eye health check with a qualified optometrist.”