Two major optical associations are piling the pressure on the UK government to introduce a more scientific approach when assessing drivers’ eyesight.
The Eye Health Alliance and Optical Confederation pressed MEP’s to implement improved sight testing standards for drivers following the meeting of EUROM 1, the European Federation of Precision Mechanical and Optical Industries.
Several attempts have already been made to regulate the testing of drivers throughout Europe, with physical and mental testing being included.
Basic eyesight requirements were set out in 2009, requiring drivers to meet minimum standards for visual fields and visual acuity.
The Optical Confederation is leading the appeal to extend the testing for professional drivers to be extended to include all drivers, replacing the number plate test. They are also working with other optical organisations throughout Europe to strengthen their position and pressure the European Commission and European Parliament into making changes.
According to a spokesperson at the Optical Confederation, “the number plate test is inadequate to assess a drivers’ vision for several reasons – it is outdated, it can be affected by environmental conditions on the day, it is inaccurate, has no scientific basis and it is not validated. This means that the results will not be consistent and cannot be repeated which makes it unfair to drivers.”
Not all organisations are supporting the calls for change.
A spokesperson at the Eye Health Alliance said, “not only is the number plate test ineffective and unfair but the current system places too much responsibility on the driver to self-report problems with their vision to the DVLA. Many drivers do not notice a gradual change in their eyesight and are therefore unaware that they fall below the legal eyesight requirement for driving.”
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