Huddersfield-based road safety charity Brake is calling on the government to introduce compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers amid claims that bad eyesight causes almost 3,000 casualties a year.
The charity says a survey it has carried out with Specsavers and the RSA Insurance Group shows strong public support with almost nine in 10 in favour of drivers having to prove they have had a recent sight test every 10 years when they renew their licence or photo card.
Brake says research indicates this change in the law would significantly reduce the estimated 2,900 casualties caused by poor driver vision each year.
The survey reveals that a quarter of drivers admit they have not had their eyes tested in more than two years despite research showing you can lose up to 40% of your vision before noticing the difference.
Many drivers are also failing to respond to warning signs in regards to their vision. One in five (19%) have put off visiting the optician when they noticed a problem while one in eight drivers who know they need glasses or lenses to drive have done so without them in the past year.
The survey also revealed that more than 1.5 million UK drivers (4%) have never had their eyes tested.
The only measure now in place to ensure driver vision satisfies minimum legal standards is the number-plate test carried out from 20 metres away before driving tests and occasionally at the roadside if police suspect an eyesight problem.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: “Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a common sense, lifesaving move. If you drive, it’s not just your own health you are jeopardising by neglecting your eyesight, but the lives of those around you. That’s why it’s vital for drivers to get their eyes professionally checked at least every two years as eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing.”