A police crackdown on drivers with defective eyesight has been launched.

Drivers Eyesight

Every motorist stopped by officers from three forces in September will be required to read a number plate from 20m away.

Anyone who fails will have their driving licence immediately revoked.

Data from the tests will be used to improve understanding of the extent of poor driver vision.

The initiative is being run by forces in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and is supported by road safety charity Brake and optician firm Vision Express.

Sergeant Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: “Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.”

He warned that officers will be carrying out eyesight checks “at every opportunity”.

Officers can request an urgent revocation of a licence through the DVLA if they believe the safety of other road users will be put at risk if a driver remains on the road.

The power was introduced in 2013 under Cassie’s Law, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who died when an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex.

It later emerged he had failed a police eyesight test days earlier, but a legal loophole meant he was allowed to continue driving.

Under current rules, the only mandatory examination of vision takes place during the practical test, when learners must read a number plate from a distance of 20m.

Once someone has obtained their licence, it is currently up to them to tell the DVLA if they have a problem with their eyesight.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement for drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life.

“Only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads.”

Research by the Association of Optometrists published in November last year found that more than a third (35 per cent) of optometrists saw patients in the previous month who continued to drive despite being told their vision was below the legal standard.

Nearly a third of Britain’s motorists do not meet the legal standard of eyesight to drive, motorists with inadequate eyesight are responsible for around 2,900 casualties every year, costing £33million. These startling results come from a report commissioned by insurance company RSA.

Michael Reed Marketing Director at Licence Bureau Ltd commented, “It’s blindingly obvious drivers should all undergo regular eyesight tests. At Licence Bureau we are actively raising this issue. We currently link with Specsavers to offer our clients vouchers in relation to improving drivers vision, raising awareness of this issue and making our roads a safer environment for all.”

(source: www.licencebureau.co.uk)

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