Police in three forces to test drivers' eyesight


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Police in three forces in England will be testing the eyesight of every driver they stop and revoking the licences of those who fail.


Police in the Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands forces are planning to test the vision of every driver they stop to ensure people with poor eyesight aren’t driving when they shouldn’t be.

If drivers’ eyesight doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, police will be able to revoke their licence immediately.

Currently, the only time there is a mandatory test of a driver’s vision is during the practical driving test, when the examiner will ask the learner to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres.

After they have successfully passed their test, it is then up to the driver to tell the DVLA if they go on to have any problems with their sight. Take a look at the DVLA’s driving eyesight rules to check what issues you should inform them of.

To be eligible to drive, you must:

  • Be able to read a car registration plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres
  • Have visual acuity (or clarity of vision, in other words) of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) as measured on the Snellen scale
  • Have an adequate field of vision (your optician can tell you more about this)

It’s ok to need glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision, but you must wear them when you’re driving to meet the standards listed above.

If a driver has their licence revoked, there is a certain length of time during which you will be disqualified from driving by the DVLA. Drivers can reapply for a new driving licence eight weeks before the end of their ban and pay the same fee they would pay if applying for the first time.

When they reapply, drivers must be able to show that their vision now meets the standard required. They will then need to go for an eye test.

Sgt Rob Heard, the representative of the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: "Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences."

Make sure you aren’t putting your life or anyone else’s in danger when you drive by having regular eye tests.

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