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Police launch September roadside eye test pilot scheme for drivers in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands

these pilot projects will be used to improve understanding of the extent of poor driver vision.

A 2012 study by insurance firm RSA estimated that poor vision caused 2,874 casualties in a year. Moreover, research carried out by the Association of Optometrists and published in November 2017 found that more than a third (35 per cent) of optometrists saw patients in the previous month who continued to drive despite being told their vision was below the legal standard.

So, what happens if a driver is stopped at the roadside and fails to successfully complete the vision test? Well, officers can request an urgent revocation of a licence through the DVLA if they believe the safety of other road users will be put at risk if a driver remains on the road.

Road safety charity Brake and optician chain Vision Express both have expressed support for the new initiative but would like to see drivers take a compulsory eye test when licences are renewed every 10 years. Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:

“It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life.”

“Only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads.”

Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Vision Express, said:

“We believe official Government statistics on the impact of poor sight on road safety are the tip of the iceberg and we know the public feel the same as we do about tackling poor driver vision.”

These sentiments were echoed by Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, who said:

“The human cost of driving with failing eyesight and having an accident can be immeasurable.”

“Drivers mustn’t just keep their eyes on the road, they must ensure they can see what’s ahead,” he added.

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