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Eyesight Legal Requirement Safety Advice for Older Drivers

Eyesight is the one area most neglected by drivers of all ages. Studies have shown that 98% of road accidents are attributed to human error. While there is no reliable data on contributory factors of poor eyesight in relation to road accidents; how many times have you heard after an accident "I never saw him"?         

90% of the information we use in driving comes through seeing therefore good vision is essential for road safety. If you can't see properly, you cannot drive safely. Clear comfortable vision will allow you to respond and react to road signs and other road users more quickly and accurately.

Driving Standards:  Legal eyesight requirement.

  1. Driving licences are normally valid up to the age of 70, but you can drive past this age if you are still physically fit and meet the required standards.
  2. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that their vision meets this standard at all times. It is an offence to drive with uncorrected vision below the required standard.
  3. You must notify the Licensing Authority if your vision does not meet the standard or if you have been specifically advised that it is likely to fall below it (Road Traffic Act 1991). The maximum penalty for driving with defective sight is £1000, three penalty points or a discretionary disqualification.
  4. You must be able to read an old-style car number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres (67 feet - about five car lengths) in good daylight. And you must be able to read a new-style number plate from distance of 20 metres (66 feet).
  5. If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the visual standard for driving, you must wear them at all times whilst driving. This may seem blindingly obvious but every day tens of thousands of motorists fail to drive with their glasses on. Some drivers have simply forgotten them and some choose not to wear them for short journeys and worst of all some because of vanity. No matter what the reason, while driving if you are not wearing your glasses or contact lenses you are breaking the law and putting life's at risk.
  6. The police have the power to require a driver, at any time, to undertake an eyesight test in good daylight.   The maximum penalty for driving with defective sight is £1000, three penalty points or a discretionary disqualification.

Eyesight legal requirement  - Safety Advice for older drivers.

Tips and Advice - Article No.13 RoadDriver 2010

For more information and a printable version to pass on to friends and family, click the link below.

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