RAC Cars News


Do You Need An Eye Test?

By raccars Published

New figures have shown that 600 drivers have been relieved of their licences due to their failing eyesight. The eye tests were mostly conducted as part of roadside checks.

The Press Association issued a Freedom of Information request to UK police forces, revealing that 631 applications to revoke licences have been made since 2013, on the basis that drivers had been unable to read number plates when tested at the legal minimum distance. Over six hundred of the applications were approved and the drivers saw their licences revoked, accordingly.

The law was changed after a campaign by the mother of Cassie McCord, a 16 year old who was killed in 2011 by Colin Horsfall, a driver who ran her down only a few days after failing a police issued sight test. Elderly Mr Horsfall was allowed to retain his licence despite failing the eye test due to a loophole in the law. When the test was taken, only three days before the fatal accident and following a minor collision, police in Essex had spent a couple of hours trying to convince Mr Horsfall that he was no longer fit to drive. Unfortunately at that time, Essex police did not have the authority to revoke the licence.

The mother of the victim, Jackie Rason, began a campaign to convince ministers to change the law and ensure that drivers who fail to meet the legal standard of eyesight needed to drive, have their licences removed. As a result, the DVLA now has the authority to remove licences more quickly. The updated law gives police officers the power to request urgent licence revocations, which are completed within 48 hours.

The legal minimum requirement for eyesight is to be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres in clear daylight. If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to see properly, you must use them every time you drive. Driver eyesight is tested as part of the practical driving test, and if you fail you will not be allowed to continue with the test. You can request a re-test and will be able to re-sit your practical test, if you can satisfy the authorities that you meet the set vision standards. If you suffer from a condition affecting one or both eyes, apart from short or long sight or being colour blind, you must inform the DVLA. Being caught driving if you are unable to meet the minimum eyesight standard could result in a prosecution.

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