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Motorists in West Midlands lose licences due to bad eyesight

After many calls for stricter measures regarding motorists with poor eyesight being banned from the roads, itís been revealed that hundreds of drivers have had their licences revoked in the West Midlands for this very reason.

Regardless of whether people have a private reg or traditional number plate, itís essential to ensure that, when driving, individuals have clear sight so they can keep themselves and those around them as safe as possible. This is because those who donít meet legal standards of vision put people ďat riskĒ, said the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Under the current regulations, motorists are legally obliged to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if their sight changes. However, with no mandatory examinations, many people fail to do this, meaning they could be driving on the roads with extremely poor vision. This can often lead to accidents, resulting in injuries and, sometimes, fatalities. However, in some areas of the country it seems as if efforts are being taken to crack down on this, with 226 residents of the West Midlands losing their licenses last year because they couldnít pass eyesight tests. In the year 2011/12, 115 licences were taken, whilst 139 were revoked in 2012/13.

For the West Midlands, the vast majority of drivers in 2013/14 lost their licenses because they couldnít clearly read a number plate from the required distance. In addition, 98 were found not to meet the minimum field of vision for driving, whilst 58 didnít meet visual acuity standards. It means that the roads in this county may well be safer because more drivers are actually able to see properly.

Upon taking their driving practical test, people have to be able to read a number plate of a stationary vehicle 20 metres away. Thereís a minimum score of 6/12 on the Snellen Test that drivers have to hold; a sharpness of vision indicator thatís judged by reading rows of increasingly small letters. If people are unable to do this, they need to contact the DVLA. A spokesperson from the organisation said: ďWhere we are notified of a medical condition that may affect driving, we may contact the drivers doctor for further information. The driver may also be referred for a further medical examination, eye examination or a driving assessment as necessary. We then make an evidenced decision on whether the driver can retain their licence.Ē

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