Castle Point MP, Rebecca Harris, lent her support for calls to improve awareness among UK drivers about the importance of having an up-to-date eye test before getting behind the wheel. It is estimated that crashes involving a driver with poor vision cause 2,900 casualties each year. Research by Vision Express and OnePoll finds that 15% of drivers had not had an eye test since they passed their driving test - on average - 14 years previously.
Attending an event in Parliament Rebecca tested a driving simulator, replicating the experience of driving with Glaucoma. The event - hosted by Vision Express - coincided with Road Safety Week 2017 (Nov 20-26) and was designed to help raise awareness about the importance of having regular eye tests.
“Many people don’t realise that changes in sight can be gradual, and experts say that it’s possible to lose up to 40% of your vision before even noticing it. That’s why drivers of all ages have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians to ensure they take their eye health seriously. Using the driving simulator I experienced for myself just how debilitating and dangerous it can be to drive with impaired vision.”
“Raising awareness about the importance of eye health is absolutely vital to improving road safety. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of your car if it didn’t have an up-to-date MOT, so why would you put your own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving with defective eyesight?”
“I would urge anyone if you haven’t had an eye test in the last two years to head to your local opticians to take one.”
New polling published this week by Vision Express reveals that many people who drive as part of their job - who between them clock up billions of miles each year on the UK’s roads - are not taking regular eye tests. The YouGov research polled Britons who drive for work, and found that:
● 1 in 4 are not having regular eye tests
● 6% haven’t had one in at least 10 years
● 2% have never had their eyes tested
In 2016, there were 44,048 work-related road casualties . A quarter of the drivers surveyed in Vision Express’ research considered sub-standard sight to be among the most significant road safety hazards and almost nine in 10 (86%) claimed to feel unsafe if other road users have poor vision.
Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO, said:
“The Health & Safety Executive estimates that a third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work , so ensuring these individuals have eye sight that is up to scratch can have a significant impact on improving road safety.
“The optometry industry does its best to keep this issue in the public eye but without more support from Government, it's difficult to see how we're going to really shift driver attitudes. That's why Vision Express is calling on the Government to help us to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye tests for drivers. One simple step would be to ensure that when drivers are prompted to renew their photo card licence every ten years that they are also reminded about the importance of making sure their eye prescription is up-to-date.”