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Department for Transport to investigate if new vision test for drivers over 70 is needed

The Road Safety Statement 2019 highlights that the UK has the third lowest number of road deaths per capita in Europe, behind Sweden and Norway

25 Jul 2019 by Selina Powell

The Department of Transport and Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will conduct research investigating whether a new vision test is needed for older drivers. 

A recently released report addressing a variety of road safety issues highlights that the Department of Transport is willing to consider whether there is a case for mandatory sight tests at the age of 70 and at regular three-year intervals afterwards in line with licence renewal.

“We are launching a research programme and literature review, in partnership with DVLA, to assess how far poor vision is or may itself become a road safety problem in the UK, and if there is a requirement for a new vision test to identify drivers who pose a collision risk,” the Road Safety Statement 2019 highlighted.

The report sets out the UK’s road safety record, highlighting that the UK has the third lowest number of road fatalities in Europe per capita at 27 deaths per million people in the population.

The country with the lowest number of deaths is Norway (20 road deaths per million) followed by Sweden (25 road deaths per million).

Commenting on the statement, deputy chair of the AOP, Dr Julie-Anne Little, said: “It’s reassuring to see the Government taking practical steps through a committed road safety action plan. We’re pleased it takes a full view – looking at all the key issues that can impact road safety, including the importance of good vision for driving.”

“It’s particularly welcome that the Government is now committed to consider making sight testing part of the licence renewal process. That is a significant shift, and one that we have long called for. Changing the rules so that drivers have to get their vision checked regularly will save lives on the road,” Dr Little added.

The AOP has campaigned for mandatory sight tests for drivers for a long time, and many AOP members have written to their MP about the issue using the template letter in the Association's guide to lobbying

Image credit: Pixabay

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