The DVLA has announced that drivers who fail a roadside eye sight test can now have their licences revoked in hours rather than days.
Under the new arrangements the police can initiate proceedings electronically at the roadside immediately an offence is established meaning that the notice of revocation can be issued to the motorist within hours.
All drivers must be able to meet the eyesight standard for driving which is demonstrated by being able to read a number plate from 20 metres. Police can easily check this at the roadside. If a motorist fails to meet this standard they will have committed an offence and will have their licence revoked and they won’t get it back until they can demonstrate that their eyesight meets the required standard. In addition driving with defective eyesight may invalidate your insurance.
The number of motorists who are banned for failing roadside eyesight tests is on the increase. In 2001 almost 6000 motorists had their licenses revoked as a result of failing a roadside eyesight test, up over 8% on the previous year. Amazingly the number of bus and lorry drivers banned increased by 36% in the same period. This may be only the tip of the iceberg however. A study by the College of Optometrists revealed that 20% of middle aged drivers had driven knowing that their eyesight was sub-standard.
The police and the DVLA see this new capability as a great tool for increasing safety on the road and releasing this news gives them an opportunity to drive the message about eyesight home.
“It’s blindingly obvious drivers should all undergo regular eye sight tests. At Licence Bureau we are actively raising this issue.” said Michael Reed Marketing Director at Licence Bureau Ltd.
Under the current law drivers are required to be able to read a licence plate from 20 metres in order to pass their driving test. They are required to maintain this standard of eyesight as long as they are driving but there are no further compulsory eyesight tests. Each driver must monitor themselves and take appropriate action.
If you are worried that your eyesight might not be up to scratch it is fairly easy to test by pacing out or measuring 20 metres from a suitable car and seeing if you can read the plate, remember that you should conduct the test in daylight and you are allowed to use your glasses or contact lenses for the test. If you’re still unsure you should arrange an eyesight test with a qualified optician.