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Sharpen up! Shocking study shows 3,000 crashes EVERY YEAR caused by bad eyesight

By Kyle Linsay
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 08:00

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DANGER: Do you have clear vision?

All drivers should get their eyesight tested every two years, a campaign launched today has demanded.

The campaign, by Brake, the DVLA, RSA and Specsavers, calls on legislation to be introduced demanding all motorists’ vision meets legal standards of safety.

It comes on the back of shocking research, which found 2,900 road casualties are caused by drivers with poor vision every year.

The disturbing study also found many motorists are failing to ensure they can see properly on every journey – putting other road users at serious risk.

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive of Brake, said: “Being a driver is a huge responsibility, and means you need to look after your own health and fitness to drive as well as making sure your vehicle is roadworthy.

“If your vision isn’t up to scratch you are posing an enormous risk on roads, as being able to see properly is fundamental to being a good driver.

“Your eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing, and at the wheel that can be lethal.

“That’s why it is so important to get tested every two years and always wear glasses or lenses if you need them when driving.

The survey of 1,000 drivers found that more than a quarter of drivers (26%) have not had a vision test in the last two years.

Worryingly, one in 11 (9%) admit not visiting the optician for five years or more – or never.

For 3%, it has been more than a decade, while a further 3% – the equivalent to more than one million UK drivers – have never had a checkup.

At the same time, many drivers who know they need glasses or lenses fail to wear them on every journey, with 9% of those prescribed not always wearing them when driving.

Furthermore, of those who claimed they don’t need glasses or lenses, nearly one in three (32%) haven’t had their eyes checked in the last two years, so can’t be certain their vision is up to scratch.

Jan Chandaman, Head of Medical Licensing Policy at DVLA, said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and licensing rules play an important part in keeping our roads safe.

“Reducing road casualties is a top priority for the government.

“All drivers are required by law to meet the appropriate eyesight standard at all times while driving.

“DVLA regularly remind drivers of the ongoing requirement to meet the eyesight standard and that failure to meet the standard is an offence – this is also included in the Highway Code.

“The number plate test is a simple assessment of vision and can be reproduced regularly by motorists to check whether they meet the standards themselves and by the police at the roadside.”

Paul Carroll, Director of Professional Services at Specsavers, added: “We have been campaigning through our support of Brake’s Sharpen Up campaign and also our own Drive Safe activity for a number of years to make our roads safer for all road users including pedestrians.

“Taking responsibility for your sight is just as important as car insurance and MOTs.”

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