Compulsory eye tests possible for drivers over 70

The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering a number of proposals to help make British roads safer, including the possibility of introducing mandatory eye tests for older drivers


If research indicates this might help reduce road deaths, over 70s would need an eye test every three years in order to keep their licence.

This comes after the government revealed it was considering the introduction of a graduated licence in England. This would mean certain restrictions on new drivers, such as being banned from driving at night.

The practical driving test includes a sight test where the learner driver must read a vehicle number plate from a distance of 20m (65ft).

After passing their driving test, drivers must then make sure their eyesight is good enough to continue driving. If that means wearing glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision to a high enough standard for driving, they must make sure they always wear them.

Last year, 4,603 drivers over 70 had their licences revoked due to poor eyesight.

In its 2019 Road Safety Statement, the DfT said: “The fitness required for driving is not just about good eyesight – manoeuvrability and reaction time are also essential. But good eyesight is important.

“We are minded to consider that there may be a case for mandatory eyesight tests at 70 and at three-year intervals thereafter, to coincide with licence renewal.”

The DfT also outlined proposals to help boost older drivers’ confidence by informing and educating – read more about this in the Road Safety Statement.

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