A recent survey by the DVLA’s has revealed that up to 50% of motorists are unaware of the legal requirements to pass the eye test that impacts their ability to legally drive.
During the practical driving test, drivers are tested on their eyesight, being asked to read a registration plate, start to finish, from 20m (65ft) away. However, after this small test during the practical examination, and once the learner driver has attained a full driving licence, it is then the driver’s responsibility to ensure their eyesight meets the legal requirements, and is regularly tested to comply with safety rules.
The data showed that only 50% of people are aware of the minimum requirements needed to pass a driving eyesight test. The test during the practical driving exam takes a matter of seconds, yet it can determine whether a learner driver passes or fails their driving test before they’ve even started driving.
The DVLA state that learners who fail the driving test due to poor eyesight are required to visit an optician immediately, so that they can drive safely and reapply for a resit of the test.
It is imperative that every motorist can see clearly when driving; motorway driving is particularly dangerous if motorists avoid the eyesight test and are unable to see clearly from afar.
Wyn Parry from the DVLA notes that the driver eyesight test takes only “…a couple of seconds”, yet it is so “…essential for safe driving” since our eyesight “…naturally deteriorates over time”.
Drivers are now being urged to test their eyesight themselves by reading a licence plate and using an estimate of five car lengths, to determine whether or not they struggle to read it.
There are already processes in place which ensure older drivers are safe to drive; over 70s have to make a declaration every three years, to prove that they are fit to drive. However, no test is required, a rule which has been highly criticised by the general public.