Should sight tests be compulsory for drivers?

Should sight tests be compulsory for drivers?

All drivers should have a sight test every two years to maximise their eye health and help reduce the risk of accidents on Britain's roads, according to the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

Launching a campaign on vision standards for driving, the association said that one in three optometrists have seen patients in the last month who had vision below the legal standard, yet ignored advice and continued to drive.

The AOP is calling for a change in the law that would see all drivers required to prove their sight meets the legal standard every 10 years.

Under the existing law, drivers must read a number plate from 20 metres when taking their driving test, but there is no follow-up check. After passing their driving test, motorists are expected to inform the DVLA of any significant change in their eyesight.

Nine out of 10 optometrists believe that the current requirements are insufficient.

What's more, research shows that 30% of motorists have doubted whether their vision is adequate, yet continued to drive. Another 26% say they have delayed getting their eyes checked by an optometrist despite suspecting their vision was deteriorating, and 6% admit to putting off a sight test for more than a year.

Worryingly, only 40% would stop driving altogether if they were told that their vision, even with glasses or contact lenses, was below the legal standard for driving. One in 10 would continue to drive as normal, regardless.

Department for Transport data shows that seven people were killed and 63 were seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads last year when "uncorrected, defective eyesight" was a contributory factor, BBC News reported.

The UK system "falls behind many other countries", according to optometrist and AOP board member Dr Julie Anne-Little.

"Because sight changes can be gradual, often people won't realise that their vision has deteriorated over time," she said.

When did you last have your eyesight checked? Do you agree that sight tests should be required every 10 years?


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Posted 17 November 2017 by Ellie Priestley

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