How not getting your eyes tested could land you with a £1,000 fine

NOT getting your eyes tested could end in a £1,000 fine – or even a driving ban.

New data from the Association of Optometrists (AOP) reveals 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, the AOP says.
Should vision play a factor in any collision, then it could result in a fine of £1,000 and three points on a driving licence.

The research revealed that up to 20% of drivers who require glasses have not have their eyes tests in at least three years.

The police have the power to carry out vision screen tests on the side of the road, with drivers needing to be able to read a number plate 20 metres away.

Almost half of Britain’s optometrists reported to the AOP that they have dealt with patients that were driving on the roads, despite their vision being legally too dangerous.

And police data has shown that around 3,000 people are killed or injured by drivers with bad eyesight (or where eyesight has played a part in the cause of the collision) each year.

Further research from the Department for Transport (DfT) has shown that 42% of incidents involving drivers over the age of 70 were due to sight issues.

The AOP criticised the Government for not addressing this urgent issue over the last few years.

Adam Sampson, AOP’s chief executive, said: “It’s deeply concerning that a 17 year-old who can read a number plate from 20 metres away when they take their driving test, may continue to drive with no further checks for the rest of their life.

“We have to ask ourselves why the UK system, which relies on self-reporting and a number plate test, continues to operate under a law first introduced in 1937 to the detriment of an individuals’ safety.

“Sight loss can often be gradual, and people may not notice changes that could affect their ability to drive so it’s important to remember that regular vision checks are an essential part of helping to stay safe as a driver.”

However, despite the calls from AOP, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said it is up to drivers to report any decline in eyesight.

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