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03rd Sep 2018

UK drivers could lose their licences if they fail new police roadside test

Rich Cooper

Police from three forces across England have launched a campaign to tackle drivers with poor eyesight.

During September, motorists pulled over by Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands police officers will be tested to see if they can read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres.

Drivers who fail the test will have their licences revoked on the spot.

The campaign is supported by road safety charity Brake. Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “It stands to reason that good eyesight is fundamental to safe driving, yet our current licensing system does not do enough to protect us from drivers with poor vision.

“It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life, other than the disproven 20m number plate test when taking the driving test.

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

Sergeant Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: “All of us require good vision to drive safely on our roads – not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.

“The legal limit is being able to read a number plate at 20m, around 5 car lengths, however this is a minimum requirement and a regular eyesight test with an optician is a must if we are going to be safe on the road.”

Under current laws, officers can request an urgent revocation of a licence if they believe other motorists are at risk if the driver in question is allowed to continue driving.

The power was introduced in 2013 under Cassie’s Law, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who died when an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle.