MPs support initiative to end road collisions due to sight impairment

Campaign calls for the Government to acknowledge ‘shocking neglect’ about the importance of vision to driving

Rebecca Harris

Multiple Vision Express is lobbying the Government to display ‘Eye tests save lives’ signs across major UK motorways during Road Safety Week, which begins today (21 November).

Releasing new statistics, Vision Express found that one in three drivers feel that vision impairment is the biggest safety risk on UK roads, second only to using your mobile phone when driving.

While 94% of the 2000 drivers it questioned as part of a OnePoll believed they met the legal eyesight requirement for driving, more than 60% could not identify what the legal requirement is.

Furthermore, 11% of drivers had not had a sight test since they passed their driving test, and 93% did not realise that you could lose your vision without noticing.

Backing the campaign, MP for Castle Point, Rebecca Harris, presented questions in Parliament on the issue, and has called for the Secretaries of Health and Transport to address drivers’ sight as a major road safety concern.

Despite Vision Express’ research showing that six in 10 drivers felt the motorway signs “would be worthwhile,” Highways England has to date declined to share the messages across the country during the awareness week. However, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government have pledged to display them.

Stressing the importance of the campaign and the need to increase road safety, Vision Express shared the story of 28-year-old Natalie Wade, who, while out wedding dress shopping, was killed by a visually impaired driver 10 years ago. Despite the 78-year-old driver having been told by medical professionals he should not drive due to his poor eyesight, he had continued to do so.

Expressing support for the campaign are Lord Bradshaw and Viscount Simon, president and trustee of safety charity, GEM. MPs also backing the campaign include Huw Merriman, Stuart Andrew, Flick Drummond, Andrew Bridgen and Barry Sheerman.