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5,000 drivers banned because they can’t see the road

It’s no secret our roads can be a dangerous place. There are jaywalkers dashing out into the middle of the road, drivers failing to indicate before a turn, cyclists… cycling. But there’s an even bigger danger many of us may not have even considered – motorists that are too blind to drive.

Thousands of accidents are caused every year by drivers who can't see properly.
Thousands of accidents are caused every year by drivers who can’t see properly.

New figures, which were revealed by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond during a series of parliamentary questions by Labour MP Meg Munn, show a ten per cent increase in the number of driving bans in 2011 compared to 2010. 5,285 car and motorbike licenses were revoked after drivers failed the standard eye test – up from 4,906 in 2010).

Professional drivers didn’t cover themselves in glory, either. A further 685 lorry and bus drivers were banned from climbing behind the wheel (up from 493 in 2010).

While the total percentage of drivers with inadequate eyesight is relatively low compared to the total number of drivers on the road, Munn claimed an estimated 2,874 casualties and a number of deaths resulted from poor driver vision.

The problem is expected to get worse thanks to the baby boom of post-war times. The Institute of Advanced Motorists estimates that by 2032, 5.8 million people in the UK will be over 70 years old, with a further 2 million over the 80 mark, increasing the likelihood of crossing paths with someone who is, for all intents and purposes, as blind as a bat.

Besides the danger to other road users, drivers who suffer from defective eyesight may invalidate their motoring insurance and, in worst cases, could see prosecution and jail time for lying about their eyesight, having caused casualties and fatalities in a road traffic accident.

Current laws stipulate that a driver should be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away, whether that’s with the help of lenses or not. Being able to pass an optician’s eye test and having an adequate field of vision is also a requirement, although the latter factor is not easily quantifiable and it is up to the driver to inform the DVLA of the outcome in either case.

Only the police can force a ban and inform the DVLA if a driver fails a roadside eye test.

Best get on down to SpecSavers, then, if you think your eyes have seen better days.

Via: Daily Mail

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