Police Crackdown On Poor Vision

Date Posted: 24/09/2018 13:11:27

Venson reveals 1 in 4 motorists are not confident they can read
a number plate from 20m away

Three police forces in England have announced they are planning to test the eyesight of every motorist they stop. If the motorist can’t read a number plate 20m (65ft) away they will have their licence revoked on the spot. In a poll[1] conducted by Venson Automotive Solutions, a worrying 1 in 4 motorists said they were not very confident or not confident at all they would be able to read a number plate from that distance.

Simon Staton, Director of Client Management at Venson Automotive Solutions comments: “The fact that only 39% of respondents were very confident they would be able to read a number plate from 20m (65ft) away is very worrying. By law this check is only required before a person takes their practical test, there is no further legal requirement to check it again.”

In previous research conducted by Venson, 70% of motorists surveyed confirmed they had started wearing glasses or contact lenses since passing their driving test. It is however impossible for a fleet manager or business to monitor any changes to a driver’s vision, especially if they are then required to wear glasses or contact lenses for driving, unless a robust checking system is in place.  

Keith Bell of The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents explains: “Legally, if the driver of a car can read a newer-style number plate (2001 or later), from 20m away, with or without glasses or contact lenses for long or short-sightedness, they are classified as meeting the standards of vision for driving but must wear their glasses or contact lenses when driving if necessary to read the number plate.”

Employees who drive as part of their job role must have regular eyesight tests, under current EU legislation[2], and the employer has a duty of care responsibility to confirm they are fit to drive[3] – this includes passing the eyesight requirements. Any employer found to be in breach of these rules, and therefore putting their employee and other road users at risk, could be prosecuted.

Staton continued: “No business can afford to have an employee’s driving licence revoked on the spot. We therefore advise fleet managers and those responsible for duty of care for employees driving for company business, to ensure regular eyesight tests take place and any changes in circumstances documented. This will reduce risk of business liability as well as increase safety on our roads.”

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