Police to test drivers’ eyes, and REVOKE licences if they fail
A crackdown on drivers with poor eyesight is being rolled out by police forces in the Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, in an attempt to improve road safety.
Motorists stopped by police during September will be required to read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres (65ft) – the current minimum legal requirement.
Those who fail the roadside eye test will immediately lose their licence, with officers having the ability to request an urgent revocation via the DVLA if they believe the safety of other road users is at risk.
The crackdown follows a campaign by the DVLA that is urging drivers to test their eyesight, after a survey suggested 50% of motorists aren’t aware of the minimum standards required.
Under current rules, drivers must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres (65ft) away, but the DVLA discovered only half of drivers make sure that they regularly use this guideline to self-check their eyesight.
22% of those surveyed by DVLA said that they would work out this distance using car or bus lengths, with a further 21% saying they would use paces or steps to measure this distance. Only around 5% said they would use a tape measure or other physical measurement to gauge the distance.
The campaign is aiming to point out some ways to identify 20 metres at the roadside. Dr Wyn Parry, DVLA senior doctor, said: “The number plate test is a 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 five 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.”
Last year, a similar campaign by the Association of Optometrists called for drivers to have compulsory eye tests at least once every 10 years, with one in three optometrists saying they have seen patients who continue to drive with eyesight below the legal standard.