In a new bid to improve road safety, Police have unveiled plans to trial on the spot, roadside, eye tests when they pull cars over. To begin, the trial shall be undertaken by police forces in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, with the aim being to ascertain the exact extent of the bad eyesight problem on British roads.
Under the laws that govern British drivers, the only eye test that is currently mandatory is the one undertaken at the start of a practical driving test. After that is complete, it is entirely the driver’s responsibility to ensure that their eyesight hasn’t deteriorated and that they are safe to drive; should they decide that they are not, it is up to them to contact the DVLA.
The new trial, that is set to begin soon, will see Officers of the participating police forces conduct regular eye tests on the individuals that they pull over. This test will be similar to the one at the start of a practical driving test and will challenge the driver to read a numberplate at 20m (65ft). If the driver fails the test, the Police will request with the DVLA that their driving license is urgently suspended.
Once a driver’s license is revoked due to bad eyesight, they will have to reapply for their license and provide evidence that their eyesight now meets the required standard. If the evidence that they provide is acceptable, the DVLA will have to carry out one additional eye test to validate results and mitigate foul play.
Speaking of the trial, Sgt Rob Heard said:
"Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences."
The power to revoke licenses, due to poor eyesight, was originally introduced in 2013 under ‘Cassie’s Law’. This law was named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who sadly lost her life when an 87-year-old man with poor eyesight lost control of his vehicle – he had failed a police eye test days earlier.
The trial will be beginning soon, with participating police forces carrying out eye tests “at every opportunity”. What do you think of this new trail? We’d like to read your thoughts on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.