While raising awareness of how a regular eye test can safeguard the nation’s sight is at the very heart of what Vision Express does, the optician has identified driver sight as a critical issue.
Vision Express passionately believes that road safety can be improved if motorists were better educated about sight – for example that around 40% of vision can be lost without it being noticed by the individual, and up to five million UK drivers would fail a number plate test if they had to take it again.
The dangers posed by motorists who are unfit to drive due to poor sight have been repeatedly demonstrated with devastating consequences. Road crashes due to poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties in the UK per year.
In 2017, Brake and Vision Express have joined forces on Brake’s new ‘Driving for Zero’ initiative. By working together, both organisations hope to encourage more drivers to have regular eye tests and help keep Britain’s roads safer. They also plan to use their political connections to influence policy surrounding mandatory eye testing at the driving test and renewal stages.
Activities were launched this summer with Vision Express hosting a Staycation Tour across the UK, visiting five Welcome Break service stations from the 17th to the 21st July 2017. Whilst there they offered Free Eye Test vouchers and eye screening to highlight the importance of driver eye health, offering drivers in the UK Free Eye Tests across the summer holidays.
The tour aimed to target the 50% of holiday makers choosing to take their main holiday within the UK this year (compared to 38% in 2016). Roads are under more pressure than ever before, and in a recent study by Vision Express, Brits are more likely to have their vehicles stocked with plenty of drinks and snacks but are less likely to have had their eyes tested.
Research carried out among motorists by Vision Express found that:
- 92% believe they meet the legal eyesight requirement for driving, yet over 60% cannot identify what this is
- 76% want a recent eye test to be mandatory when renewing a driving licence
- 15% of drivers hadn’t had a sight check since reading a number plate during their driving test, which was on average, 14 years ago
- 30% of UK drivers are overdue an Eye Test, with 4% admitting to never having one at all
Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO explains: “It’s extremely worrying that reports estimate five million drivers on UK roads would fail a number plate test if they had to take it again. What’s more, almost six in ten agree that reading a number plate as part of a driving test is an outdated and ineffective way to check sight is good enough to drive for years to come. That’s why we’re committed to continuing to reach out to motorists and do all we can to encourage them to consider their vision before getting behind the wheel.”
See the story of Greg Archer here, supporting the launch of this campaign.
In their long term initiative supported by Brake, Vision Express has been lobbying Government to have signs displayed across major roads and motorways telling motorists ‘EYE TESTS SAVE LIVES’ during Road Safety Week. Leading this campaign, Vision Express teamed up with one family whose lives were destroyed by a 78-year old visually-impaired driver who killed a 28-year-old at a pelican crossing.
View the video of their story here.