ELDERLY and visually-impaired drivers are being reminded of the importance of regular eyesight checks – to avoid potential accidents out on the road.
According to new data, two thirds of drivers who wear glasses or contact lenses are ‘putting off’ correcting their vision and could be landed with a £1,000 fine for putting themselves and other road users at risk.
However, most people who need to get their eyes fixed are avoiding treatment, according to data from the Association of Optometrists (AOP).
Shocking research uncovered that almost a fifth of people who use glasses to drive have not had their eyes checked for at least three years.
Delaying an eye test for so long could be in breach of driving laws if it posed a risk to road safety.
But the AOP also found that one in 10 people in the UK say they would carry on driving even if their vision was thought to be unsafe.
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Approximately 3,000 people are killed or injured by a driver with poor eyesight every year in the UK.
Incidents on the road which involved drivers over the age of 70 in the UK were due to sight issues more than 42% of the time, according to figures from the Department for Transport.
Police now plan to conduct vision screening tests at the roadside to ensure motorists are not driving with untreated eyesight.
Those found to be doing so could be fined £1,000, handed three penalty points on their licence and risk a ban.
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Drivers who are stopped by police will be requested to read a number plate 20 metres away.
If they are not able to complete the task, they could have their licence taken away.
It is up to motorists to report any decline in eyesight to the DVLA themselves, but the AOP criticised the government for not taking enough action to keep Britain’s roads safer by reviewing drivers’ eyesight.
Adam Sampson, the AOP’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s deeply concerning that a 17 year-old who can read a number plate from 20 metres away when they take their driving test, may continue to drive with no further checks for the rest of their life.
‘We have to ask ourselves why the UK system, which relies on self-reporting and a number plate test, continues to operate under a law first introduced in 1937 to the detriment of an individuals’ safety.’
‘Sight loss can often be gradual, and people may not notice changes that could affect their ability to drive so it’s important to remember that regular vision checks are an essential part of helping to stay safe as a driver.’