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Don’t lose sight of the dangers of driving.

Poor vision causes an estimated 2,900 casualties and costs the UK £33 million per year[1]

There are multiple causes for road accidents in the UK, from reckless and careless driving to harsh weather conditions. Every 20 minutes, someone is killed or seriously injured on a British road.[2] But it may come as a surprise to drivers to hear that one major cause of casualties on the roads is poor vision.

Although there is a basic sight exam as part of the UK practical driving test, there is no later assessment to ensure that long-term drivers still maintain the same level of vision as when they passed their test. Poor vision means that drivers are far slower to recognise and anticipate hazards on the road, or mistakes of other drivers, which can lead to devastating consequences.

Ahead of Road Safety Week, which this year is between 18th and 24th November, we are warning drivers and other road users of the dangers of poor eyesight. Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event, organised by charity Brake, and aims to raise awareness and boost safety levels on UK roads.

The theme of this year’s Road Safety Week is “Step up for Safe Streets” which encourages local communities, families and individuals to learn design-led solutions that will allow people to get around in safe and healthy ways.

Dave Nichols, Community Engagement Manager for Brake, said: “We’re delighted Optical Express is getting involved with Road Safety Week and stepping up for safe streets. Nobody should be killed or seriously injured on our roads and we already know the many solutions that can prevent these tragedies and allow us all to get around in safe and healthy ways.

“It’s vital everyone gets involved with learning about, shouting about and celebrating these solutions, whether through campaigning for safer roads, or choosing to use roads as safely as possible. Together we can make roads safer for everyone.”

Optical Express revealed that three in five glasses/contact lens wearers said they had driven without the correct eyewear, which is an offence that could result in prosecution as it disregards the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) regulations.

The DVLA states that you must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’, as driving without them can endanger yourself and others.

Road users can also cause hazards when distracted whilst driving. The top five distractions to drivers are outlined below:

  1. Passengers/ children
  2. Mobile phone
  3. SatNav
  4. Radio
  5. Tablet

You should get your eyes tested at least once every two years, in line with the national guidance, although 15% of us fail to do so, and 6% of us claim to have never had an eye test.*

Clinical Services Director, Stephen Hannan said: “Good eyesight is an essential requirement for safe driving, as drivers with poor vision increase their risk of collisions due to not seeing hazards and their inability to react in time to dangers on the road.

“It is imperative that members of the public who hold a driving licence have a regular eye examination, whether they wear glasses and contact lenses or not, in order to make sure they meet the necessary requirements.

“As passing the sight test when you first passed your driving test doesn’t necessarily mean your sight is still up to standard. It is a very important public safety matter in the interest of the individual driver and the general public, as well as being a legal requirement before driving a car.”

 

 

[1] http://www.brake.org.uk/sharpen-up/15-facts-a-resources/facts/491-eyesight

[2] http://roadsafetyweek.org.uk/our-theme

*Data collated from a One Poll survey of 2000 people in October 2018

 

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