Motoring: Police introduce roadside eyesight tests for UK drivers
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Experts at GEM Motoring Assist said many have been “put off” booking an eye test during the pandemic so are unaware of any vision issues. They warn many drivers “will be unable to notice” any small changes to their vision which could have a major effect on their safety.
GEM Chief Executive Neil Worth has urged drivers to “prioritise safety” and book an eye test as soon as possible.
He said: “Poor eyesight is linked to more than 3,000 fatal and serious injury collisions every year.
“We are concerned that there are too many people driving whose eyesight has deteriorated to a dangerous level.
“The past year of Covid restrictions will have put many people off booking an eye test, but as things open up and the roads become busier, we urge everyone to prioritise safety and book a proper examination.
“This will identify and correct any problems, meaning the risks of driving are reduced and the road environment is safer.
“More and more people are staying behind the wheel for longer.
“Under the present regulations, it’s our individual responsibility to declare ourselves fit to drive.
“But we will be unable to notice many of the changes to our vision.
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“It takes a professional examination to reveal changes to our visual acuity, peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception, ability to focus and colour vision.”
GEM Motoring Assist has warned the driver eyesight system was no longer fit for purpose.
It added the rules needed to be updated urgently in order to boost safety among road users.
In 2018, a survey of more than 2,400 GEM members revealed the vast majority of road users backed some form of mandatory eye testing.
A total of 75 percent said those returning to driving following a court ban or medical revocation should undergo an eye test.
Meanwhile, 70 percent were also in favour of making it a requirement to have an eye test certificate to be able to renew their driving licence.
GEM said having a bi-annual eye test was a “key part” of being a responsible and safe driver.
They say eye tests are free to those over the age of 60 as well as those between 16 and 18 who are still in full time education.
For everyone else, tests cost between just £20 and £30 making it great value for money.
The DVLA says drivers must be able to read a car number plate from at least 20metres.
Drivers must also have an adequate field of vision to identify hazards.
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