According to the road safety charity Brake, an estimated 2,900 road casualties are caused by poor driver eyesight each year. A 2014 survey revealed that one in eight drivers who need glasses or lenses had driven without the correct eyewear during the past year. In addition, more than 1.5 million UK drivers have never received an eye test.
Driving with poor vision is dangerous and illegal, but many motorists aren’t even aware that their vision needs to be corrected. As a fleet operator, you’re tasked with reducing risk, so it’s in your interests to ensure all your drivers have eyesight fit for the road.
- Currently, employers aren’t legally required to ensure that their drivers receive eye tests or that they wear corrective lenses if necessary.
- It’s an offence not to wear corrective lenses if you need them when driving. Vision-impaired motorists caught without the necessary eyewear could face a £1,000 penalty and three penalty points.
- The DVLA’s ‘Standards of vision for driving’ requires that all motorists can read a car number plate from 20 metres, as tested at the start of the practical driving test.
- The minimum eyesight standard for driving is a visual acuity of 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale, with eyewear if necessary.
- For lorry and bus drivers, the minimum eyesight standard is a visual acuity of at least 0.8 (6.75) in the best eye and at least 0.1 (6/60) in the other eye.
- Lorry and bus drivers must also have a visual field of at least 160 degrees.
- Drivers over 70 years old must declare that their eyesight meets minimum legal standards when renewing their licence, but they don’t have to prove this.
What can you do?
Although you aren’t legally obliged to test that your drivers’ eyesight is fit for purpose, it makes sense for you to incentivise them to have regular tests. The cost of an eye test would pale in comparison to the emotion, time and money saved by being involved in a road traffic accident.