Road safety group calls for overhaul of driver eyesight testing

Road safety group, GEM Motoring Assist, have said that a more robust system with better regulation of eyesight tests for drivers would improve road safety in the UK and cut collisions caused by defective vision.
GEM road safety officer, Neil Worth said that the current system is ‘crude and outdated’. Official data indicates that failing to look properly is responsible for the majority of road accidents, ‘Speeding, drink or drug driving, driving unlicensed – these are responsible for a fraction of the crashes on our roads’ in comparison.
GEM suggests detailed tests of a driver’s visual acuity (sharpness of vision) and field of view should be required every 10 years to ensure motorists are able to see and react to what is happening around them sufficiently.
An eyesight test was first introduced into the driving test in 1937. Since then this only been amended slightly to reflect a change in number plates size.
It is the only eyesight test drivers are required to undertake until they are 70, which GEM believes to be dangerous.
Worth added ‘We believe that all drivers should ensure they have an eye test every two years, just to ensure there are no safety concerns about their vision and to deal with any issues at an early stage…We would also like to see every new driver producing evidence of a recent eye test when first applying for a licence, with a mandatory test every 10 years in line with licence renewal.
‘With the greater volume of traffic and an increase in distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle, there is a clear need for more regular and detailed eyesight testing’

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