With an estimated 2,900 road casualties caused by poor vision every year the Optical Confederation (OC) is joining forces with charity Brake to urge drivers to take a sight test this Road Safety Week.
From 21 – 27 November the OC is raising awareness of the impact poor vision can have on driving as part of Brake’s national campaign to improve road safety.
Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event, held annually and involves thousands of schools, organisations and communities. This year’s theme is ‘Make the Brake Pledge’ focusing on six simple elements to make our roads safer – with sharp vision as one of the vital checks for drivers.
Earlier this month, the OC encouraged optical practices across the UK to kick-start the campaign by displaying a poster that couples sight test with the common driving instruction ‘Mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ – highlighting good eyesight as a crucial part of road safety.
Speaking on behalf of OC, optometrist Henry Leonard said: “The relationship between road safety and vision needs to have greater visibility and that is why we are fully committed to raising awareness for Road Safety Week in 2016.”
Mr Leonard continued: “It’s worrying that there is no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests; a 17-year-old who can read a number plate when they take their driving test may continue driving for the rest of their life with no further checks.
“Roadside tests have shown that many drivers subsequently fall below the required standard as their eyesight changes over time, often without realising. We believe that before being issued with a licence, and when licences are renewed every 10 years, drivers should provide evidence that they meet minimum vision requirements.”
Mike Carr, Public Affairs Advisor at Brake said: “We fully appreciate the crucial role of the optical community in achieving the real improvement in road safety we are fighting for. Commitment to regular eye checks should be one major step towards safer driving that we know will ultimately save lives”.
Road Safety Week was founded by Brake in 1997 as an annual event to raise awareness about road safety and promote steps that everyone can take to stop deaths and injuries year-round.
The OC has produced an advice sheet ‘Vision – Key Facts for Drivers’ to help people understand issues around poor vision and driving performance.