With World Glaucoma Week this week, road safety charity and breakdown cover company GEM Motoring Assist is urging the Government to reassess existing vision tests for driving, to ensure road safety is not compromised.
Currently, as part of the UK’s driving test, motorists are required to read a licence plate from 20 metres away, but the Government is looking to relax this law to just 17.5 metres. With already an estimated four million UK motorists failing to meet minimum eyesight requirements for driving, GEM is calling for support to encourage stricter rules for driving vision tests and more regular compulsory eye tests for licence holders.
David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, comments: “Poor vision is a significant factor when it comes to road safety and it is very worrying that the Government is even contemplating relaxing the vision test during driving tests. In fact, we believe the test should be much more stringent and there should be rules in place to ensure motorists have their eyes tested professionally, on a more frequent basis.”
World Glaucoma Week aims to increase awareness of the group of eye diseases ‘glaucoma’ that progressively deteriorate, and often eventually eradicate, a person’s eyesight. With only approximately 50% of people in the developed countries aware that they have glaucoma, it is the second most common cause of blindness across the world.
David continues, “With more frequent, obligatory eye tests for motorists there is a higher chance of catching problems, such as glaucoma, at a much earlier stage. Not only that, but we know that taking these steps would help reduce the number of accidents caused by poor vision.
“The vision test before the practical driving test is relatively undemanding, with only 2,000 people failing each year, and with evidence showing that many motorists are taking unnecessary risks with their eyesight on the roads we are urging the Government not to relax the rules but make them tougher,” David concludes.