Your Eyesight and Driving in the UK – The Rules
Good eye health and eye care are crucial to driving safely. It is the law in the UK that you must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’. Also, you must tell DVLA if you’ve got any problem with your eyesight that affects both of your eyes, or the remaining eye if you only have one eye. Information on driving and sight loss can be found on the RNIB website.
Driving during the Winter months often brings into focus (no pun intended) your ability as a driver to read road signs, judge distance and speed in the lower levels of light throughout the day. In addition many motorists find that night driving becomes troublesome when their driving eyesight is not as good as it once was.
It is a fact that human eyesight deteriorates over time. For many motorists the number of years that has passed since they a) passed their driving test and/or b) had their eyesight tested can be counted in double figures in years. It figures, therefore that for many drivers their eyesight has worsened throughout their time at the wheel.
The law states that driver’s must be able to read a clean number plate at 20 metres in good daylight (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary). You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen chart (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) using both eyes together or, if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye. You must also have an adequate field of vision.
There have been concerns expressed in the press that an enormous number of motorists are driving around on Britain’s roads ‘virtually blind’. Are you one of this number whose eyesight is so bad that you would be considered a hazard on the roads? If you cannot pass the basic eyesight test (see above) you should NOT be on the road.
It is clear that good eyesight has a major role to play in safe driving. Maybe it is time for random police roadside eyesight checks?! Punishment for failing the eyesight test could be monetary; points on your driving licence and ultimately a driving ban for repeat offenders.