The UK's Association of Optometrists (AOP) released survey results from this year's Voice of Optometry panel on vision standards for driving. Out of the 1,000 eye health professionals surveyed, nine in ten said the UK's vision requirements for getting a driving license were too lenient and needed to be changed.
This survey also showed that eight in ten eye doctors supported full eye screenings for new drivers. Many optometrists who took part in this survey admitted to seeing at least one patient in the past month that had below-average vision and a legal driver's license.
Earlier in the year, the AOP published an official position statement that said the UK's policy of using self-reported data for vision simply isn't good enough. With all of this new data from the Voice of Optometry survey, the AOP created a public health awareness campaign called "Don't Swerve a Sight Test" to teach UK residents about the dangers of driving with below-average vision.
AOP was also encouraged to start this campaign after the highly publicized death of three-year-old Poppy-Arabella Clarke. Earlier this year, a motorist slammed into the car Clarke was in and killed her almost instantly. It was later revealed that the driver had failed vision tests just a few weeks before the fatal crash.
The main message of this new "Don't Swerve a Sight Test" program is for all drivers to get a vision test at least once every two years. If everyone in the UK had regular eye exams and followed their optometrists' instructions, the AOP says motorists will be making the UK's roads a whole lot safer for everyone.
To help spread this message across the country, the AOP is teaming up with road safety charity group IAM Roadsmar. IAM Roadsmart, which focuses on improving driving safety through its road skills courses, has over 200 groups and around 90,000 members across the nation.
In the next few months, AOP will be releasing dozens of informational leaflets, social media posts, and videos online to help spread the "Don't Swerve a Sight Test" campaign. AOP is also spending a great deal of effort developing memorable infographics so everyone can understand the campaign's message quickly.
During last year's Road Safety Week (November 20-26), AOP ramped up its campaign efforts and encouraged all UK residents to get an eye exam.
AOP executives recommend everyone who's interested in this information go to their website and share safety material with family and friends. To find more information on the "Don't Swerve a Sight Test" campaign, simply visit this webpage.
AOP will be posting many pithy stats and quotes on its social media pages during the next few months. Social media users are encouraged to friend AOP on Facebook or follow AOP on Twitter.