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Fleets urged to increase focus on driver eyesight

Fleet operators are being reminded of the need to ensure drivers have regular eyesight tests following new research showing thousands of UK drivers lose their licence each year due to poor eyesight.

A total of 19,644 drivers had their licences revoked between January 2017 and September 2019 because their eyesight did not meet the required standard

DVLA figures uncovered by Direct Line through a Freedom of Information request reveal that 19,644 drivers had their licences revoked between January 2017 and September 2019 because their eyesight did not meet the required standard; the equivalent of 134 drivers per week, or more than 7,100 a year.

Richard Hipkiss, managing director of Fleet Operations, commented: “All employers have a duty of care to confirm that any employees who drive either a company car or their own vehicle for any work-related purpose are fit to drive, including passing the eyesight requirements.

“These statistics bring this health and safety obligation into sharp focus.  Employers should be reminding their employees regularly of the DVLA recommendation that eyesight tests should be taken every two years as a minimum to mitigate risk for both employees and other road users.”

Hipkiss also urged for an update on the current law that stipulates that all drivers must be able to read a number plate in daylight from a distance of 20 metres.

“As with most medical conditions, the onus legally is on the driver to inform the DVLA should their eyesight drop below the required levels. But apart from this rudimentary eyesight check during their driving test, the test is not required at any other time, nor can this be fully relied on as it only checks a driver’s ability to read over distance. The only way to properly check a driver’s eyesight is through an eyesight test with an optician.

“We’d like to see a mandatory eyesight test as part of the photocard licence renewal process every 10 years. It’s simply too important to leave for people to effectively ‘self-certify’ as the years go by.”

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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.