Scottish campaign focuses on driving safety

A campaign by Road Safety Scotland and the Scottish Government is highlighting how changes in vision and health can affect driving

The image is taken from behind the steering wheel of a car driving down a busy High Street. The image is slightly blurred, the lights of other cars creating glare, and the number of the bus in front is unreadable.
Scottish Government 

Road Safety Scotland and The Scottish Government have launched a new campaign which puts a spotlight on the importance of regular eye examinations.

The Fitness to Drive campaign will inform the public about links between health and driving, and will particularly encourage drivers aged 60 and over to have regular eye examinations to continue driving safely.

The campaigners shared recent statistics that revealed 29% of car driver casualties killed or seriously injured in road collisions in 2022 were aged over 60.

An introduction to the campaign shared: “As you get older, changes in your vision and other health issues can affect your driving. There are lots of things you can do to continue driving safely, like getting a free NHS eye examination.”

Family and friends who may have an influence on older drivers are being encouraged to initiate discussions about driving, which, the campaigners acknowledged, can be a sensitive topic.

The campaign will also ask drivers aged over 60 to assess whether other health related issues might be affecting the way they drive.

The campaign launched on 8 January across TV, video on demand, radio, digital, social and press.

Older drivers have shared how they have adapted their driving as their vision changes, as part of the campaign, emphasising the key message: ‘Don’t ignore changes in your vision.’

Driving and vision

A stakeholder toolkit has been developed to help share the messages of the campaign with the public. Resources include posters, social media content, website and newsletter banners and copy, and leaflets.

The AOP regularly seeks to highlight the importance of good vision for driving, through its Don’t swerve a sight test campaign, and welcomed the new initiative.

Commenting on the new project in Scotland, Henry Leonard, head of clinical and regulatory at the AOP, said: “As a longstanding advocate around the importance of good vision when driving, we welcome this initiative from Road Safety Scotland.”

He explained that, with no legal requirement to have a sight test as a UK driver, it is not uncommon for patients to leave check-ups longer than they should, adding: “With many eye conditions causing change over time, they may not notice a deterioration.”

“Which is why we encourage all drivers, regardless of age, to have regular sight tests to protect themselves and other road users,” he said.

Leonard continued: “As optometrists, we often face quite tricky conversations with patients when their sight has deteriorated significantly, particularly if they no longer meet the legal standard for driving. We also hear patients’ concerns around elderly parents or relatives in this area.”

He recommended that practitioners contact the AOP regulatory team if they are worried about a patient or would like tips and advice around those difficult conversations. Find contact details for the AOP teams here

This week, the RAC has called for an independent study into the issue of headlight glare, after a survey of 2000 UK motorists found nine in 10 drivers think at least some car headlights are too bright. Read more here.