Thousands of drivers banned for poor eyesight

Thousands of drivers banned for poor eyesight
3 Jan, 2013 6:24pm Claire Holden

Almost 6,000 motorists have had their licences revoked or blocked because they cannot see the road properly

Thousands of drivers have been banned from the road because they cannot see properly, according to the latest figures.

The Department for Transport (DfT) revoked or blocked 5,285 licences for cars and motorbikes in 2011 because the motorists could not pass a standard eye test. This is an increase of eight per cent since 2010, when 4,906 motorists were banned.

The number of lorry or bus drivers who had their licences revoked or banned has increased by 39 per cent, from 493 in 2010 to 685 in 2011.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond revealed the figures in response to parliamentary questions from Labour MP Meg Munn. He said: “Licensing rules have an important part to play in keeping our roads safe.  We must make sure that only those who are safe to drive are allowed on our roads while at the same time avoiding placing unnecessary restrictions on people’s independence.”

Under DfT rules, drivers must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres in order to pass a driving test. But once a driver has passed their test, there are no further compulsory eyesight tests. Instead, drivers assess themselves when renewing their licence to ensure that they meet the required standard.

Mr Hammond continued: “If the DVLA is made aware that a licence holder may not meet the minimum eyesight standards for driving then they will investigate.  If it is confirmed that a driver does not meet the standards, the DVLA will revoke the licence.”

Driving with defective eyesight is an offence and a driver who does not meet the required standard could be prosecuted or have their insurance invalidated. But the Government has ruled out introducing mandatory eye tests for drivers looking to renew their licence.

What’s your view on the issue? Is the Government right to take no action or should it toughen the rules?

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with an increasingly affluent and aging boomer generation out there a mandatory test is becoming more important.

Make people sit not only an eye test, but a driving test when they renew their licence. This will encourage people to maintain a reasonable standard of driving and vastly increase road safety! Peter Owen DSA ADI ORDIT

extra driving tests means more money for driving instructors too

As a type 1 Diabetic I have to renew my licence every 3 years, as well as filling in load's of forms so the DVLA can then ask the 3 different doctors I see questions about my medical condition they also then insist on sending me for a eye test at a DVLA appointed optician.

The only upside of doing this every 3 year's is the DVLA never charge us with medical restricted licences to update the photo on the photocard.

DVLA is looking to change it's approved optician to a national chain, maybe they need to look at 3 yearly eye tests for all.

as anyone over 60 gets free eyesight tests, it should be straighforward to require them to get the test and send the results to the DVLA.

New tests would get expensive, but some web/video based test could help -a very least a multiple choice on recent highway code changes "what is a roundabout", "what is the outside lane on a motorway for", "when should you use main lights over side lights"

Maybe this explains why so many people drive around with headlamps and front fog lights on all the time, in perfectly clear conditions: They're just struggling to see the road.

I was wiped out by a car pulling out from a garage forecourt whilst riding my motorcycle. The driver said it wasn''t his fauilt as he hadn't seen me. Yep he was registered disadbled - guess why!
Eyesight test are essential at regular intervals regardlewss of age. It's not just reading a numberr plate but also things like tunnel vision or night vision which should be tested.

I agree with the comments here. Probably explains why on a coast road near me, some old drivers will do 25mph even though the road is clearly marked as 40mph? Much to the frustration of the long queues of traffic.

Or maybe I drive with them on because I know every other driver is short sighted and needs help seeing me!

@Peter Owen: I agree! We need more bureaucracy and people in non-jobs with pointless qualifications! I tip my hat to you old bean.

In RSA they use an automated test and an opticians machine at the Test station or you bring in your own opticians test results

And increase your earnings judging by the letters after your name!!

I have an IQ of 119 which means I am smarter than a household dog. I think everyone should take tests every 6months for the safeties of the roads and the safties of our childrens.

my son was knocked off his motorbike recently by a driver of an HGV where he cut across my son whilst turning right on a main road, as a result of the police enquiries, it was established the driver's eyesight was not good. Had his eyesight been good, he would have seen my son and not caused severe injuries including a broken back in 4 places dislocated shoulder head injuries as well as severe cuts and bruising - the driver is being prosecuted for dangerous driving, lost his job as his insurance has now become void and also the company he works for are also being investigated on their Health & safety procedures and drivers risk assessments. I believe the government should make it compulsory for eye tests every 2 years and licences revoked if they are not taken. Also higher penalties for people who cause accidents with bad eyesight.

Eyes Sight & Driving. It should be a requirement that if a claim is made to car insurancers by any driver. that they as a matter of course require an eye test report. Photo I.D to be provided of persons so as to confirm i.d at the eye test. If eye sight does not comply with the legal requirements NO PAY OUT for them or car. Passengers in vechicle or injured by standers still covered by the vechicle Insurance. A valid eyetest certificate should have to be produced on purchase of car insurance. Car Hire, Employment where driving part of job. All HGVs, 999 services. etc Every 2 years. Any optictions, doctors, medical staff should report persons to D.V.L.A if not up to driving requirements. Opticitons will benefit creating more jobs, Insurances will save monies, less vechicles on the roads. Less accidents and DEATH. Is anyone doing anything about this??