Friday 8 March 2013

Better driving vision standards called for

The Optical Confederation has joined forces with the Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) and Brake in a call for the Government to revisit legislation relating to eye sight testing standards for new drivers. 
Supporting two Early Day Motions which have been proposed by cross-party MPs John Leech, Barry Sheerman and David Amess, the motion labels the Government’s recent interpretation of an EU Driving Licence Directive as a ‘missed opportunity’ to raise drivers’ eyesight standards in the UK to reflect those in other European countries. 
Speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, Mark Nevin, said: “The Government’s implementation of the EU Directive, which simply retains the current number plate test as the main assessment of driver vision, does not go far enough. The Government has failed to use this opportunity to introduce a requirement for all drivers to have a professional assessment of vision when applying for a first licence and at all subsequent renewals.”
The call comes after the DVLA issued changes to minimum eyesight standards for driving in the UK, which included retaining the 20 metre number plate test. The changes, which follow a public consultation and apply to car and motorcycle (Group 1), and lorry and bus drivers (Group 2), will come into force on March 8. 
Research commissioned by the RSA as part of its ‘Fit to Drive’ campaign found that crashes in the UK caused by poor vision cost an estimated £33m annually. 
MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, commented: “The UK’s current number plate test falls short of the standards for driver vision recommended in the European Directive. The Government needs to look again at the issue in order to reduce the number of crashes caused by poor vision and to improve road safety across the country.”

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