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One in three can't see to drive

By: Elizabeth Smythe
02 February 2012

Fresh calls have been made for more rigorous driver eye tests following the startling revelation that a third of British motorists have vision so poor, they are barely able to see.

The findings were made by laser eye surgery provider, Ultralase and road safety charity, Brake who surveyed 2,000 drivers across the country to determine their whether their eye sight met minimum standards.

While those with driving jobs no doubt have regular eye tests, the same cannot be said for the general public, for whom the initial 'read a number plate' test is the only evidence of their vision required.

HGV, LGV and PCV drivers have to pass more stringent tests before they are granted their driving licence, yet this is not required of the public, who could quite easily hire vans or lorries.

The survey found that one in three drivers' vision meant that they could not see properly when driving, according to the RAC. What's more, around 20 per cent had been involved in an accident as a result of their bad eyesight.  

Ultralase is launching a timely petition for mandatory eye tests, just at the same time as the government deliberates whether or not to make changes to the vision part of the driving test, bringing it in line with the more relaxed European test.

Dr Mark Young has recently carried out a study of vision and driving, declaring that the current requirements are not fit for purpose, having been introduced in 1937, according to Auto Express. Dr Young claims that the current test only checks for visual sharpness, when it should examine field of view and reaction to what's happening within it.

"The results of our study are clear," he said. "At a time when there are more distractions and traffic on the roads, the current eyesight test is not fit for purpose.

"We also need regular, compulsory eyesight checks for all drivers to identify those with poor vision."

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