Every so often, enough accidents happen on the roads that there is a little bit of pressure on motorists to make sure that they meet the minimum standard for vision and driving. Considering that it wouldn’t make a substantial difference in reducing some 3000 serious collisions on the roads, it’s not difficult to see why this is the case. However, it’s just up to people to take the appropriate steps and, indeed, some personal responsibility.
Poor eyesight can be linked to a lot of problems. It’s important to try and tackle this head-on. Neil Worth, the chief executive for GEM, had this to say on the subject:
“Poor eyesight is linked to nearly 3,000 fatal and serious injury collisions every year. We are concerned that there are too many people driving whose eyesight has deteriorated to a dangerous level. Covid restrictions will have put many people off booking an eye test, but that is no longer a valid excuse.
“We urge everyone to prioritise safety and ensure they have a proper eye examination with an optician every two years. Eye tests allow professionals to identify and correct any problems, meaning the risks of driving are reduced, and the road environment is safer.”
Obviously, people need to be careful to avoid prosecution. If you aren’t found to have the right standard of vision, you could be punished. You have to be able to read a licence plate from 20 metres away.
Eyesight can deteriorate over time, meaning it is important to test every few years and remain vigilant. In the event that you develop any serious issues with your eyes, you need to inform the DVLA.
The most at-risk group is always the elderly, but eyesight can deteriorate gradually. It is important to be practical about any loss of vision - a pair of glasses or contact lenses can be an easy fix.
Eye tests are free for people who are 60 or older and anyone who is 16-18 living in full-time education. Other people may expect to pay between £30 and £50 for an eye test.
Obviously, we don’t want a bunch of people to suddenly become unable to drive. However, safety has to overrule everything else. Under present regulations, the driver has a personal responsibility to declare themselves unfit to drive.
So, having a high enough standard of vision that you can drive is very important. There are lots of people who routinely practice good responsibility when it comes to their eyesight, and money will stop driving if it deteriorates. Getting your eyesight tested on a regular basis is a good way to know what’s going on because, in a lot of instances, the problem can just be resolved with a pair of glasses or contact lenses. However, it is often your personal responsibility to identify whether or not you need any support - this means that you need to be realistic about your vision.