Healthy Sight, Healthy Licence

Don’t lose your licence because of poor sight

It’s great to hear today that police forces are starting to check the eyesight of all drivers they stop and have powers to revoke their licence immediately if they can’t read a number plate at the requisite 20m (that’s about 5 car lengths if you’re as bad at me as estimating distance!).

Not before time – the Association of Optometrists called last year for compulsory eye tests every 10 years. And a recent DVLA survey found that half of us aren’t really aware of the minimum eyesight requirements for driving and certainly don’t regularly check that we meet it. I know I haven’t had an eye test for years …until last week.

But with an increasingly ageing population and conditions like type 2 diabetes on the rise which can impair eyesight, it’s something we need to be aware of. Very conservative estimates suggest that between 2 and 3% of us don’t meet the minimum vision standards for driving and that over 5,000 people had their licenses revoked in 2011 as a result.

Poor vision increases accidents

There are few studies categorically proving that poor vision increases accidents as it is rarely checked at the scene. But it’s just common sense.

The problem is, that eyesight is only assessed at the initial driving test…and there are no formal ongoing checks over the many decades of driving that follow. And yet, night-time vision is worse as we get older, our response time in reaction to glare gets slower and all sorts of other eye conditions can creep up causing a deterioration in eyesight. If it’s a sudden change, we may notice it…gradual changes are less easy to detect.

A 20m number plate reading check is all well and good but doesn’t test for night-time glare issues, reduced field of vision or other eye problems…so our advice would be a 2 yearly formal eye check as a minimum. Not only could it reduce your risk of accidents but you may benefit from fewer headaches, less fatigue and much more too.

At Vavista Insurance, we are keen to keep our customers as healthy and as safe on the roads as possible. So, you may want to check out your eyesight for a quick and easy health win.