Regular eye tests "essential" for motorists

Regular eye tests "essential" for motorists

By Alexa Kaczka

It is a well-known fact the people who require a prescription for their eyesight need to wear any required glasses or contact lenses when they are behind the wheel, but many motorists are failing to do so.

According to a new report by The Co-operative Motor Group, the number of drivers in the UK that have had their licenses revoked due to failing eyesight has more than doubled in the last four years.

New figures obtained following a Freedom of Information request by the Co-operative show that the number of drivers unfit to be on the road has risen from 1,597 in 2006 to 4,009 in 2010 – an increase of 151 per cent.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said he is not sure whether the rise in the number of people having their licence revoked is because more of them are failing to tell if their eyesight has deteriorated, or if motorists have simply been caught driving without their contact lenses or glasses.

"People don't have to fear losing their licence, they just have to go to the opticians. We can't stress enough the importance of having an eye check every two years, or more often if your optician says so," he explained.

He noted that this is also another reason why the government should not weaken the eyesight part of the driving test, which it has proposed to do.

Mr Clinton said there is also still a patent need for education about the importance of regular eyesight checks.

It comes after a campaign was launched by Royal Sun Alliance that aims to increase the frequency of motorists' eye tests in a bid to reduce the number of accidents occurring on UK roads.

According to the organisation, if drivers were to regularly visit their optician or optometrists to ascertain whether they need glasses or contacts lenses to drive, their boosted vision could significantly reduce road accidents and deaths.

by Emily Tait

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