British drivers have poor eyesight

A third of British drivers, whether driving for work or personal reasons, could be on the roads with sub-standard vision, according to a recent survey.

A poll of 3,000 drivers by opticians Specsavers found that one in three had not been for an eye examination in more than two years, as recommended by opticians. A further 6% had not had an eye examination in the past 11 years, and one in five who needed to wear glasses behind the wheel admitted they often did not bother to do so.

The majority of UK employers were also unaware that professional drivers will soon be required to take more frequent eye tests under new European Union legislation.

Specsavers found that three-quarters of employers did not know that under a new European law, employees holding commercial driving licences will be required to have eye tests every five years.

The legislation, which is due to be rolled out in 2011, also required private licence holders to be tested every 10 to 15 years.

Despite the legislation passing through the EU parliament back in 2006, more than three-quarters of employers were unaware that its implementation was imminent, with 2013 set as a final deadline for the directive to be translated into national law.

Laura Butler, corporate account manager for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “It is astounding that more than three-quarters of companies have not even heard of this new legislation. For everyone’s safety, this should be a priority now, regardless of the date when the actual legislation will come into force.”

Bristol was found to be the UK’s “crash capital”, with more than a third of people living there reporting being involved in at least one accident, with 71% having had near-misses.

The city also had the highest level of accidents related to poor vision or not wearing glasses.

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