Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 creates the offence of driving with uncorrected defective eyesight
Eyesight problems are more common among older age groups and are likely to cause greater impairment at night when they can make it more difficult to see pedestrians and road signs or cope with the glare from oncoming vehicle headlights.
Your eyesight was checked at the start of your practical driving test - you'll have been asked to read a number plate from distance (20 metres for a number plate made after 1 September 2001) - but have you had it checked since?
Not only do regular eyesight checks help make sure you stay legal on the road they can also pick up at an early stage any potential eyesight problems that can be dealt with if diagnosed soon enough.
And if you needed to wear glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate when you took your test, or have been prescribed glasses since, do you make sure that you wear them every time you drive?
Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 creates the offence of driving with uncorrected defective eyesight.
You can be fined up to a maximum of £1,000, along with three points on your licence and possible disqualification.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about any medical condition that affects your driving. If you’re involved in an accident, you may be prosecuted.
Whenever the police investigate a motor vehicle accident the report includes information on contributory factors as determined by the investigating officer or advised by witnesses or the driver(s) involved in the incident.
The most frequently recorded contributory factors* (2011 data) are:
In this context 'Uncorrected, defective eyesight' was reported as a contributory factor in only 0.2% of accidents.
In February 2013 DVLA introduced a new fast-track reporting system for the police to request urgent revocation of a drivers licence when they believe he/she presents a severe risk to the public.
On working days between 08:00 and 21:00 DVLA will review the case immediately and notify the police by email if the licence has been revoked.
A banned driver who continues to drive, commits a criminal offence which may lead to their arrest and vehicle seizure.
Before the introduction of this new reporting system police officers had no powers to immediately suspend a licence for a driver who fails an eyesight test but ignores advice not to drive.
(15 August 2013)
*A single accident can have multiple contributory factors