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Motorists reminded to check their eyes

Driving can be an extremely enjoyable pastime for a lot of people, and whilst some individuals use it as a means to an end, others love nothing more than jumping in their vehicle, complete with private reg, and enjoying the ride. However, motorists are being reminded that it’s essential to ensure their vision is good so safety can be upheld.

Legally, drivers need to be able to read licence plates from 20 metres. Though this is checked on an initial driving examination, it’s rarely enforced later on. It means that many people could be driving without actually meeting the eyesight criteria. New laws have recently come into effect which allows police to refer motorists to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they’re proven to fail an eye test. It means that everyone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle must ensure their vision is good and that, if required, their glasses or contact lenses prescription is up to date.

PC Andy Huggett, a member of the Sussex Police team who are reminding drivers to take care, said, “You could be taken to court and fined. We now have the power to refer people who fail an eyesight test to the DVLA and actually have their licence revoked within hours. Worst case scenario is somebody gets hurt or killed. Please check your eyesight and make sure you are up to scratch and if you believe somebody else is driving with uncorrected vision or if you have any concerns about somebody else’s driving let us know.”

The concerns have come after a number of accidents occurred through East Sussex caused by drivers without the correct vision. In one situation, a 79 year old man couldn’t even read the registration of a vehicle more than one metre away; a sure indication that he shouldn’t be driving.

By law, the DVLA require motorists to read an old style number plate from 20.5 metres and a new one, made after September 1st, 2001, from 20 metres. Before all practical examinations, instructors will ask for people to correctly read a plate, and if they can’t, they immediately fail their test. It’s also a requirement to wear the correct contact lenses and glasses before getting behind the wheel so that the “standards of vision for driving” are met. In addition, any problems with eyesight other than long and short sightedness and colour blindness, have to be reported to the DVLA so they can make a decision on an individual’s licence.

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