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Drivers face instant ban for failing roadside eye tests

Drivers who fail a roadside eye test face immediate bans in a police campaign this month.

Throughout September all drivers who are pulled over by the police must complete an eye test – reading a number plate at 20 metres, or five car lengths.

Any driver who fails the test will have their licence revoked on the spot.

Thames Valley Police is one of three police forces in the UK running the Eye Tests Save Lives Campaign in partnership with Vision Express and road safety charity Brake.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, 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, other than the disproven 20m number plate test when taking the driving test.

“It stands to reason that good eyesight is fundamental to safe driving, yet our current licensing system does not do enough to protect us from drivers with poor vision.”

The campaign, also being run by Hampshire and West Midlands Police, will last for the whole month of September.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage the public and government to take driver vision seriously, with an estimated 2,900 injuries caused involving a driver with defective eyesight happening every year.

An estimated 1.5million UK licence holders have never had an eye test, and the compulsory 20 metre licence plate check done in driving tests across the country is one of the five most basic tests in Europe.

Drivers must be able to complete the test in full-light conditions and must do the test without their glasses or contact lenses if they were driving without them.

Sergeant Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: “All of us require good vision to drive safely on our roads – not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.

“The legal limit is being able to read a number plate at 20m, around five car lengths, however, this is a minimum requirement and a regular eyesight test with an optician is a must if we are going to be safe on the road.”


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