UK: Drivers to Lose License on Spot if They Fail Roadside Vision Check

UK Drivers to Lose License on Spot if They Fail Roadside Vision Check

The new harsh measure allows police to revoke license immediately and forbid the driver to proceed with their journey.

A new measure being introduced in the UK would allow the traffic police to revoke drivers’ license on the spot if a driver fails a vision check, British media report Monday.

The vision test is as simple as a circle: a driver must be able to read a road sign from a distance of 20 meters. If the driver fails, their license would be revoked immediately and they would not be allowed to continue with their journey.

“Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences,” says Police spokesman Rob Heard, adding that traffic police officers would carry out the checks “at every opportunity.”

The police say the initiative would involve Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands forces; it is so far undisclosed when it would encompass the entire country.

The legislation that grants traffic police to conduct these checks has been introduced back in 2013 and is named “Cassie’s Law,” after 16-year-old Cassie McCord who died after 87-year-old-man lost control of his car in Essex. The investigation of the incident proved that the driver failed a vision checks days earlier, but was allowed to drive because of a legal loophole.

Last year, a 72 year-old-driver killed a 3-year-old girl on a pedestrian crossing, week after being told his vision was too poor to get behind the wheel, even when he wore his glasses. The man was not even wearing his glasses at the time of the incident, Daily Telegraph reports.

A study by the Association of Optometrists published last year says that 35 percent of optometrists had seen patients in the previous month who were driving despite having been told their vision was below the legal standard. Based on this study, some 1 million people in the UK is believed to be driving illegally; the roadside vision checks are supposed to provide some more precise numbers. Another study from 2012 by RSA insurance estimated that eyesight problems cause almost 3,000 casualties per year in the UK.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, supports the initiative saying it is “madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life.”

“Only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads,” he added.

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