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Should Have Gone To Specsavers - Rise In Eyesight Test Failure For UK Drivers

17th December 2013
If you thought that the Automobile Association’s 2012 report that “more than two in five drivers illegally use hands-held mobiles while at the wheel” was worrying enough, consider this...

A new survey has found that more than a quarter of 1,000 drivers said they had not taken an eye test in the last two years, and 3 per cent - the equivalent more than one million UK drivers – admit to never having their eyesight tested at any time, even since passing their driving test.

It has been suggested that the number of casualties on UK roads could be reduced by almost 3,000 if regular eye tests were introduced. According to a National Travel Survey 2011 estimate, the total number of annual road casualties, including those not reported to police, could be between 660,000 to 800,000 or an average of 730,000. It’s possible that just over 4 in every 1,000 accidents and subsequent injury claims were caused by poor eyesight.

One in Ten Not Wearing Their Glasses

During the same period, more than 5,280 drivers and motorcyclists were unable to pass a standard eyesight test, up by 8 per cent from 2010. The survey also found that nearly 10 per cent of drivers who need glasses or lenses, do not always wear them behind the wheel.

While less than 1 per cent of reported road deaths and injuries have been actually recorded with poor eyesight directly linked to the accident, nevertheless, it is an offence to not ensure that eyesight for driving on the road meets the required legal standard.

Visual acuity for both eyes

As well as an “adequate field of vision”, you must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate from 20 metres (65 feet) and also meet the minimum standard for driving by having a visual acuity for using both eyes together of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) as measured on the standard professional eye chart (known as the Snellen Scale). Lorry and bus drivers are tested to a higher standard.

The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Britain’s main roads increased by 2 per cent - from 24,473 (Sep 2011) to 24,860 (Sep 2012). On minor roads, fatal and serious accidents were also up by 5 per cent. Road accident casualties in 20mph zones had risen by nearly 25 per cent compared to 30mph zones in 2011, according to current Quarterly Provisional Estimates, published by the Department of Transport (DfT).