Experts at the Association of Optometrists (AoP) have warned that current laws on vision requirements for drivers are insufficient and motorists should be made to have an eye test every ten years.

Current laws in the UK just require learner drivers to read a number plate on a parked car during their practical driving test, and are some of the most relaxed in Europe with no mandatory eye tests needed. The Driving and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) must be informed if a motorist feels they are having problems with their eyesight, but if they do not admit to having difficulties their licence will simply be renewed.

In a separate poll of 2000 drivers, 30 per cent admitted to driving even though they doubted their vision was adequate and just 40 per cent said they would stop driving if they were notified that their vision was below the legal standard, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.

The AoP says nine out of ten optometrists do not believe that the current rules go far enough, with a third having seen patients in the last month who are still driving despite being told their vision is below the legal standard. As a result the AoP has launched a Don’t Swerve A Sight Test campaign urging people to get tested every two years and has sent its members a template letter encouraging them to lobby their local MPs to change the law.

Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that “uncorrected, defective eyesight” was a contributory factor to accidents on Britain’s roads last year in which seven people were killed and 63 were seriously injured. Despite this the Department for Transport states that Britain had some of the safest roads in the world and insists that current requirements are adequate.

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