News from Brake
Monday 23 July 2018
The DVLA has today launched a new national eyesight awareness campaign reminding drivers of the need to regularly check their eyesight. All drivers must, by law, meet the minimum eyesight standards at all times when driving - including being able to read a number plate from 20 metres.
Brake, the road safety charity, has been working with Vision Express through the ‘Driving for Zero’ campaign, to raise awareness of the dangers of poor eye health and to call for more to be done to tackle the issue of defective driver vision.
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“Any campaign to remind drivers to check their eyesight is welcome, however, awareness raising falls far short of tackling the true problem of poor driver vision, where a change in legislation is clearly required. Brake is calling for the law to be strengthened, to require drivers to prove to the DVLA they have had a recent, professional vision test when they take their driving test; and be required to have regular tests during their driving life on a regular basis. It should be obvious to all that the ability to see clearly is fundamental to safe driving and so we urge the Government to act to address the shortfall in the law and introduce mandatory eye tests for drivers now.”
“At present, driver eyesight is only checked through a 20-metre license plate reading before the driving test, after which a driver may never again be required to prove that their vision is fit for driving. With eye specialists stating that the 20-metre test is inadequate in assessing driver vision, and research showing someone can lose up to 40% of their vision without being aware, it is time for mandatory eye testing to be introduced.”
Commenting, Jonathan Lawson, CEO at Vision Express said:
"It's a positive first step to see the DVLA is spearheading a public awareness campaign to encourage drivers to take their eye health seriously - something Vision Express has been campaigning for. It is estimated that as many as 1.5m UK licence holders have never even had an eye test and road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties. However, the 'number plate' test was introduced over 80 years ago before the Second World War and eye testing has advanced significantly since then. The NHS recommends people should have an eye test every two years, so we would encourage the DVLA to remind drivers that whilst passing the number plate might be the legal limit, the Government's own advice is to have a full eye health check with a qualified optometrist."
Notes to editors:
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.