More than half of drivers blind to minimum eyesight requirements

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How to check your vision is up to scratch as more than 50% get basic check wrong

Less than half of the country’s motorists are aware of the minimum eyesight requirements for driving a car.

According to research by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) only 48.5% could correctly identify that they must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.

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More than a quarter (28%) thought the minimum distance was 25 metres but 20% thought it was only 15 metres and 6% didn’t realise there was any minimum distance.

The agency is now urging drivers to make sure they can pass the test, as traffic levels return to normal.

Lynette Rose, director of strategy, policy and communications at the DVLA said: “The number plate test is a simple and effective way for motorists to check their eyesight meets the required standard for driving which includes reading a number plate clearly from 20 metres.

“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for motorists to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician – don’t wait for your next check-up.”

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The number plate check is easily carried out at home or in a public place. Twenty metres is roughly five car lengths or the width of eight standard car park bays and you should be able to read a standard number plate from that distance.

Glaucoma UK’s head of support services, Joanna Bradley, backed the DVLA’s reminder.

She said: “Many people may have seen changes to their vision over the past year and may have missed a test due to the pandemic.

“We’d urge anyone with concerns not to delay getting tested as their vision could get worse.

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“Everyone should have regular eye tests, at least every two years, so that your optician can check the health of your eyes. It is vital that if you recognise changes in your eyesight in the meantime, you visit an optician as soon as possible.”

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