Let’s Be Clear About Our Eyesight When Driving

It’s a no-brainer that better regulation of eyesight tests for motorists would reduce road accidents and make our roads safer. Currently, the only eyesight test is when you take your driving test and have to read a car registration plate from 20 metres away. But there have been calls for a thorough test of a driver’s visual acuity and field of view every decade.


Perrys’ motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, commented: “If you cannot see properly, you shouldn’t be driving – it’s that simple. But the reality is that there are many motorists whose eyesight has declined to dangerous levels. In an ideal world, compulsory eyesight tests should be held every couple of years, especially for drivers aged over 40. But the most down-to-earth measure would be a test of visual acuity and field of view every decade, which would synchronise with licence renewal, making it realistic and enforceable.”


The motoring journalist added: “Even DVLA recommendations to medical professionals maintain that eyesight can deteriorate progressively and disregarded, with people losing up to 40 per cent of their visual acuity without being aware of deterioration.”


Safety bodies believe that frequent, compulsory eyesight tests for motorists would offer more than just a straightforward and effective way of cutting crashes caused by sub-standard vision. “Enforced eyesight tests would not only make Britain’s roads safer, protecting lives, and saving millions of pounds through the decline in the number of collisions, but they are also a tool for the early identification of other medical conditions, regardless of driving,” added Tim Barnes-Clay.


He concluded : “The time has come to acknowledge that the current UK driver eyesight test isn’t fit for purpose. Furthermore, it’s no longer acceptable for motorists to self-certify. Many more drivers are remaining behind the wheel into their eighties and over. This, along with the growing volume of traffic and associated distractions, inside and outside the car, points to the obvious need for more regular and thorough eyesight testing.”