Don't swerve a sight test
Mackey Opticians are trying to raise concerns that we have over the way drivers’ vision is tested.
As you may be aware, the annual Road Safety Week campaign is taking place from 20 – 26 November, and in the lead up to this awareness week, the Association of Optometrists (of which all of our Optometrists are members) is calling for stronger vision checks for drivers, as well as promoting the need for every driver to have a regular sight test.
Currently, drivers are tested on their visual acuity before their driving test by being asked to read a car number plate, at a distance of 20 metres. If they require spectacles or contact lenses to meet this test, they are required to wear them for driving. A driver is also required to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they have certain eye or general medical conditions, and if they are advised by an optometrist or a medical practitioner that they should no longer drive. Once a driver reaches the age of 70, the DVLA requires them to declare whether they are fit to drive and then every three years thereafter.
Mackey Opticians believe the current assessment of drivers’ vision consisting of an initial number plate test, which could be completed in conditions that vary, is inadequate. While the ability to drive safely requires a number of mental and physical capabilities, good eyesight is obviously a crucial one of these and is essential for road safety.
Mackey Opticians want to see stronger legal requirements for drivers; they should be required to prove that their vision meets the standards for driving at least every ten years (for example, at licence renewal), and more frequently as they get older.
In addition, everyone should of course have a sight test every two years, or more often if recommended by their optometrist. Sight tests not only check your vision but are also crucial in detecting sight-threatening disease.
Mackey Opticians would be grateful if you could write to the Department for Infrastructure - Transport to raise these concerns on our behalf.
Department for Infrastructure
Transport Regulation Unit
1-7 Bedford Street
Telephone: 0300 200 7831