It may soon become law for all U.K. drivers to pass regular eye exams.
James Cox, a locum dispensing optician in the U.K., is behind a brand new petition which would require all car insurance companies to seriously look at every patients' eye exams before issuing coverage. If Cox's plan goes through the U.K. government, all drivers will need to provide up to date eye exams to insurance companies every year.
These visual tests would be measured using traditional Snellen chart results. Snellen acuity tests will need to be repeated at least once a year for drivers to continue receiving quality coverage.
Anyone who does wear glasses will be required to have at least two pairs of spectacles with their most recent prescription lenses. This petition would also make it mandatory for drivers to have a backup pair of glasses in their vehicle at all times.
Cox hopes his petition will help opticians across the country easily report patients they feel are unfit to drive. He wants to form a streamlined process whereby opticians can tell the Department of Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about patients with extremely poor vision.
As of today, many opticians are afraid to report on patients with poor vision screenings due to patient confidentiality laws.
Drivers with bad vision are currently asked to refer themselves to the DVLA. Cox's proposal severely criticizes this current practice. As Cox wrote in his proposal: "Self referral to the DVLA for poor vision does not work and results in people with vision far below the legal standard remaining on our roads causing accidents and deaths." Cox believes this situation can be changed fairly quickly if legal standards for visual acuity are set and opticians have more power to report patients with low vision scores.
There's a great deal of support from the optician community behind Cox's petition. Over 400 people have already signed Cox's petition, and he expects more to join his campaign in the future.