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News & Features

AOP Campaigns for Drivers to have Compulsory Eyesight Tests

Posted in General News on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is campaigning for drivers to have compulsory eyesight tests every ten years. To be permitted to drive motorists must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away and according to research conducted by the AOP, one in three optometrists have seen patients over the last month who continue to drive despite no longer meeting the minimum eyesight requirements. Under the current law, it is the responsibility of any driver under the age of 70 to report changes in their vision to the DVLA. Drivers who are over the age of 70 are legally required to make a declaration confirming that they are still fit to drive and this means that they must complete a test to prove that their eyesight still meets the required standard for safe driving. Of the optometrists surveyed 90% believe that this current law is not strict enough. Optometrist, Dr Julie Anne-little, for example, said: “Because sight changes can be gradual, often people won't realise that their vision has deteriorated over time." The extent of this problem was recently highlighted by the car insurance comparison site, confused.com. This company’s research revealed that more than 9,000 drivers either had their driving licence revoked or their application to obtain a driving licence refused in 2016 because their vision did not meet the required standard.  

The AOP’s campaign is also supported by Brenda Gutberlet from Canvey Island in Essex. Ms Gutberlet has a vested interest in seeing the law change after her niece, Natalie Wade, was killed by a 78 year old driver who was blind in one eye.

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