11 October 2013

Regular eye tests for drivers could save lives

The road safety charity Brake, together with the DVLA and insurer RSA, has begun a campaign calling on motorists to visit the opticians at least every two years.

Failing to make sure your vision meets legal standards for the road is an offence; however, motorists are usually only tested for this during their driving exam, where they have to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. A survey of 1,000 drivers found that 26% had not had an eye test in the last two years and 3% - the equivalent to more than one million UK drivers - had never had one at all.

Their research also revealed that 9% of drivers who need glasses or lenses do not always wear them behind the wheel. Cassie McCord, 16, from Colchester, was killed when a car mounted a pavement and hit her in February 2011. The 87-year-old driver had failed a police eye test just days earlier, but officers had not been able to persuade him to hand over his licence.

Cassie's mother Jackie told news reporters: "They spent two hours coercing him, trying to get him to surrender his licence voluntarily, but he refused. He got in the car three days later and killed Cassie."

Thanks to a subsequent campaign by Mrs McCord, known as "Cassie's Law", police can now get permission from the DVLA to remove a licence from someone with poor eyesight within minutes - a process that used to take days.