A clear view of road safety
Renewed calls for mandatory driver eye tests
GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers and riders of all ages to make an appointment for an eyesight test. This would make a significant contribution to reducing collisions and injuries on the UK’s roads, says GEM.
‘Failing to look properly’ remains the single biggest cause of recorded road crashes in the UK (39%). This is closely followed by ‘Failing to judge another road users path or speed’ (20%).
The organisation is once again warning that our driver eyesight regulatory system is no longer fit for purpose. The regulatory framework needs to be updated urgently, but drivers also need to take more responsibility.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth 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”.
As society open up and the roads become busier, the dangers on the road will only increase. And with public transport systems out of favour, more people ill be driving themselves.
“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. It takes a professional examination to reveal changes to our visual acuity, peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception, ability to focus and colour vision.”
Having an eye test every two years is a key part of being a responsible driver. This ensures there are no safety concerns about driver’s vision. Eye tests can also flag up many other medical conditions at an early stage.
In the frame
Eye tests are free to those aged 60 or over, as well as to those aged 16 to 18 and in full time education. For others, an eye test typically costs between £20 and £30.
In 2018, a survey of more than 2,500 GEM members revealed that 75% supported mandatory eye testing for anyone returning to driving following a court ban or medical revocation. Meanwhile, 71% also favoured =a current eye test certificate to be provided at the time of renewing a photocard licence (every 10 years).