UK Drivers To Get Roadside Eye Tests By Police

Mon 3rd Sep 2018

Drivers in England could be facing roadside eye-tests after three police forces announced that they will test every driver they pull over in September.

Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands will all expect drivers to read a number plate from 20 metres when stopped in the next month, and those who fail the test could lose their licence. Though the eye-test is no different to that which is taken when learner drivers take a test, safety campaigners have long argued that regular eye-tests should be introduced to improve road safety.

Both Vision Express and road safety campaign group Brake have asked for eye-tests to be completed every ten years, in line with renewal of licences.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on 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%) of optometrists saw patients in the previous month who continued to drive despite being told their vision was below the legal standard.

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”.