The AA has welcomed the DVLA’s #EYE735T national eyesight awareness campaign which was launched this week to raise awareness of the minimum standards required for driving.
While poor eyesight can affect everyone it can become a particular issue with older drivers – and poor eyesight is a significant factor in collisions involving older drivers with a recommendation from the Older Driver Task Force that drivers should be required to take an eyesight test when they reach age 70 and every two years in order to renew their driving licence.
However, Populus research by the AA for the Task Force found significant support (48% overall) for the concept of compulsory eyesight tests for all drivers every two years, surprisingly the strongest support coming from young drivers (51%) aged 18-24.
But for the proposal to introduce compulsory eyesight tests from age 70 there is overwhelming support. While nine out of 10 (93%) young drivers think older drivers should have their eyes tested in order to maintain their licence, older drivers (65+) themselves emphatically agree with nearly three-quarters (72%) saying so. A decisive 89% of drivers aged 65+ would support compulsory eye tests from age 80 and above.
Edmund King, AA President says: “Good eyesight is of course fundamental to road safety but it can deteriorate very gradually, particularly as age advances, for example through the development of cataracts. Drivers may not realise quite how poor their eyesight is becoming.
“This simple self-test proposed by DVLA is a great way to spot-check your own vision but it isn’t a substitute for a free NHS eye test which will give you a comprehensive picture of your vision and provide advance warning of potential issues that might damage your sight in the future.”
As age advances eyesight changes can significantly reduce all-round vision and the AA would support the introduction of eyesight tests for those aged 70 and above, as proposed to the government by the Older Driver Task Force.