July 31, 2018

DVLA calls for more regular eye tests for drivers

van drivers eyetest

A new campaign by the DVLA is pushing drivers to get their eyesight tested after a recent survey revealed 50 percent of drivers aren’t aware of the minimum required standards.

Required standards for drivers

The current standards state that drivers must be able to read a vehicle number plate from 20 metres (or 65 feet) away. However a survey of motorists by the DVLA revealed that only half of drivers regularly use this guideline to self-check their eyesight. Of those questioned, 22 percent said that they would work out the 20 metre distance using car or bus lengths, whereas 21 percent stated that they would use steps or paces to measure this distance. A miniscule 5 percent said that they would use a tape measure or other measuring implement to determine the distance.

The campaign

He DVLA campaign, is aimed at pointing out ways of identifying the distance of 20 metres at the roadside. Senior Doctor at the DVLA Dr Wyn Parry commented on the campaign:

“The number plate test is simple and effective way for people to check their eyesight meets the required standards for driving. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to work out what 20 metres looks like at the roadside, this is typically about the length of 5 cars parked next to each other and then test yourself on whether you can clearly read the number plate. Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician, don’t wait for your next check-up.”

Compulsory eye tests every 10 years

The Association of Optometrists called for drivers to have compulsory eye tests every 10 years, with the DVLA reporting that there are currently 48 million registered drivers in the UK. What the optometrists reported was particularly alarming, with one in three stating that they had seen patients who continue to drive with vision below the legal standard. As it stands, drivers over the age of 70 have to actively make a declaration every three years that they are fit to drive, however as it stands they do not actually have to pass a test.

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