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Confusion over DVLA policies leaving fleets exposed to risk

Fleet managers should revisit their driver vision policies to ensure they’re correctly carrying out their duty of care by informing the DVLA of any sight issues.

Woman trying on glasses in opticians

The survey found 70% of motorists had started wearing glasses or contact lenses since passing their test but had not informed the DVLA

So says Venson Automotive Solutions after a survey by the leasing and fleet management firm found that 70% of motorists have started wearing glasses or contact lenses since passing their driving test but have not informed the DVLA.

The firm said there is widespread uncertainty over whether the DVLA needs to be informed when someone has to start wearing glasses or contacts for driving. If the DVLA is informed, an 01 code is added to the list on the reverse of the licence.

Although Venson said the Government’s own website on driving eyesight rules has conflicting advice on the rules – and also said high street opticians are also adding to the confusion – it added that the legal requirements are in fact quite simple in most cases.

Keith Bell of The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, said: “Legally, if the driver of a car can read a newer-style number plate (2001 or later), from 20m away, with or without glasses or contact lenses for long or short-sightedness, they are classified as meeting the standards of vision for driving but must wear their glasses or contact lenses when driving if necessary to read the number plate.”

However, Venson recommends employers take further action if their employees are required to drive as part of their job role.

Director of client management Simon Staton said: “We believe it should be a legal requirement to have 01 added to your licence if you need glasses or contacts to drive. With 70% of drivers not having done so, we advise fleet managers and those responsible for duty of care to ensure their employees driving for company business have informed the DVLA of their need for corrective lenses. This will reduce risk of business liability as well as increase safety on our roads.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.