By Alexa Kaczka
One in five fleet drivers in the UK last had their eyes tested more than two years ago, beyond the maximum recommend period without having a vision check, a new poll has suggested.
Research carried out by Fleet News noted that some drivers may be putting the safety of themselves and other road users at risk by potentially not wearing contact lenses or glasses even though they require them.
It comes after a recent survey by the Fleet Safety Forum showed that 42 per cent of companies did not offer eyesight tests for professional drivers through a company scheme, while almost 60 per cent were failing to record when drivers last had their eyes tested.
Peak Performance training director Les Hammond told Fleet News that carrying out the basic eyesight test before any practical training is essential.
He alluded to one test a few years ago: "A middle-aged company director, who was hugely experienced and did around 50,000 miles a year, could not read a number plate at the stipulated distance, so we stepped forward another ten metres and he still couldn't read it."
Incidents such as this, as well as high-profile accidents involving some drivers, have led to many people calling for new mandatory eye tests for drivers to be put in place.
However, health and safety legal expert Gerard Forlin QC told Fleet News that mandate eyesight tests would be likely unmanageable.
He pointed out that it is now generally now accepted that employers need to check on a regular basis that employees who drive for work have a valid driving licence.
"It is however debatable whether this norm should extend to eyesight tests, where enforcement would be virtually impossible. If, on the other hand, there were specific high risk driving tasks it would then be arguable whether extra checks may need to be taken by employers," Mr Forlin added.
The expert pointed out that, in the event of a road accident occurring, it is likely that investigators would attempt to establish whether a driver's prescription spectacles or contact lenses were being worn at the time of the incident.
by Alexa Kaczka