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In a recent crackdown, 3 Police Forces across England are now planning to test the eyesight of each person they stop throughout September, in an effort to reduce the number of drivers with defective vision.

Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands forces will be running the scheme, supported by both Vision Express and Brake, the road safety charity. 

The data itself is set to be used in identifying the true extent of driving with poor eyesight and the risks it can cause, and it’s been determined that if a stopped driver fails to correctly read a registration plate from 20m away, their licence can be immediately revoked.

This comes following an incident in Woking over the first weekend of the month, where an 87 year old driver was captured on dashcam footage turning the wrong way onto a busy main road. After narrowly missing a collision with the oncoming police vehicle, the driver failed a roadside eye test and could only read the registration plate from just 7.3m (24ft) away.  

Current rules in the UK outline only one mandatory driver’s vision examination which takes place during the practical test where learners are required to read a registration plate from a distance of 20m. However, further to this there are no other mandatory tests and it is the responsibility of each driver to inform the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if any eyesight problems develop.

Sergeant Rob Heard said: "Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences” and roadside police officers will be carrying out the checks “at every opportunity,” and the partners of the police force are now calling for a recent eye test to be made a requirement every 10 years when licenses are renewed. 

Also in support of the scheme is Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, saying: "the human cost of driving with failing eyesight and having an accident can be immeasurable… drivers mustn't just keep their eyes on the road, they must ensure they can see what's ahead."

But the most shocking statistic comes from Brake, as they comment that a staggering 2,900 causalities every year on UK roads are as a result of poor eyesight. Joshua Harris, Director of campaigns, said: "it is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life… only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads."

Heather Waters is a Digital and Content Marketing Executive at Teletrac Navman.

Heather Waters is an innovative and driven digital content marketer with a degree from Manchester Metropolitan University emphasis on Film and TV.