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Regular eyetests should be ‘mandatory’ for all drivers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:13 04 September 2014

A road safety charity is calling for compulsory eye tests for drivers.

A road safety charity is calling for compulsory eye tests for drivers.

PA

Eyesight tests for all drivers should be made compulsory and nine out of ten drivers (87%) of motorists in the UK support this idea. There are 2,900 road casualties each year in the UK caused by poor eyesight.

Road safety charity Brake is asking the government to introduce mandatory eyesight tests for all drivers when they renew their driving licence every 10 years.

The call comes after a survey that shows a quarter of UK drivers admit they have not had their eyes tested for more than two years despite scientific research showing you can lose 40% of vision before you notice.

More than 1.5 million UK drivers have never had their eyes tested and 12% say they have not had an eye test in five years or more. With 54% of drivers in Britain believing they do not need glasses or contact lenses, this means a third (33%) of all drivers have no way of knowing if their vision is impaired or not.

Currently, the only legal requirement is a driver is able to read a number plate on a car from a distance of 20 metres but this simple test does not evaluate the visual field or possible eyesight defects.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a common-sense, life-saving move. Clearly the public agrees that the government needs to act to tackle the alarming number of drivers taking a lax approach to their eyes.

‘Making sure your vision is up to scratch is crucial to safe driving, and though it may seem there are plenty of excuses to put off going to the opticians, none is good enough when it comes to putting people’s lives at risk. If you drive, it’s not just your own health you are jeopardising by neglecting your eyesight, but the lives of those around you.”

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