Seven in ten (70%) UK drivers admit their vision is worse than when they passed their test, according to a new study.
The survey of 2,000 UK drivers, conducted by Euro Car Parts, explored the nation’s attitudes towards driving with reduced vision.
Every year, around 200 accidents on UK roads are attributed to ‘uncorrected or defective eyesight with the latest Department for Transport data reporting that in 2018, 53 of these were serious incidents, with three fatalities.
While all drivers are required to pass a simple eyesight check during their test, people are currently allowed to stay behind the wheel indefinitely without any future assessments.
There are no plans to change the current regulation, despite 70% of UK adults (approximately 29 million drivers) admitting that their eyesight has worsened since they passed. The figure is greatest amongst over 55s (84%) but more than half of 18-24-year-olds (55%) and 25-34s (59%) confess that their vision has deteriorated.
Even those who wear contact lenses and glasses are regularly taking risks. Nearly a third (32%) admit to having previously driven without their visual aids, with around a quarter (24%) doing so either ‘often’ or ‘all of the time’.
If you are caught driving with limited eyesight, your license can be instantly revoked and over 7,000 Brits a year have theirs taken away for this reason.
However, while only a fifth of Brits (22%) think that people with bad eyesight should be banned from driving. There is strong support for the idea of retesting people after set time periods. More than eight in ten (81%) drivers think there should be some kind of second assessment, with the most popular timeframe being 10 years after the initial test (28%).
Older drivers are less likely to hold this view, with only two thirds (67%) of over 55s backing retests, compared to 96% of 25-34-year-olds.
To highlight the dangers of driving with poor eyesight, Euro Car Parts has launched a new online tool, where people can experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel with impaired vision.
Users can view a series of dashcam videos, taken during the day and at night, and apply different filters to replicate the vision of people with the five most common eye conditions – glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinas pigmentosa.