According to new data from the Association of Optometrists (AOP), two-thirds of drivers in the UK who use glasses are ‘putting off’ updating their prescription. As a result, their vision isn’t suitable for driving – increasing the risk of accidents.
If vision is a contributing factor in any collision, it could lead to a £1,000 fine and three points on the driver’s license. The AOP research found that up to 20% of drivers who need glasses have not had an eye test in at least three years, and in severe cases, this could lead to a driving disqualification.
Police have the authority to conduct on-the-spot vision screenings and require drivers to read a number plate 20 meters away. The elderly and visually impaired are being urged to have their eyesight checked promptly.
AOP warns that failing to receive proper eye treatment is a significant threat to road safety, and nearly half of all optometrists in the UK report having treated patients who were driving despite their legally unsafe vision.
Police data indicates that around 3,000 people are killed or injured each year by drivers with poor eyesight or whose vision is involved in the collision’s cause.
A DfT study revealed that 42% of accidents involving drivers over the age of 70 were due to vision impairments.
The AOP has criticized the government for not addressing this urgent issue, with their CEO stating that relying on self-reporting and a number plate test is not enough to guarantee road safety.
Regular vision checks are crucial for maintaining driver safety, as gradual sight loss can go unnoticed.
Despite calls from the AOP, the DVLA has declared that it is the drivers’ responsibility to report any decline in eyesight and seek treatment as soon as possible.