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20/20 or 6/6 – get it checked

Published: 16/01/12

Research commissioned by RSA late last year highlighted some rather worrying results about drivers and their eyesight.

Undertaken by Brunel University the research showed that at the measured legal minimum level of eyesight drivers struggled to maintain a constant speed; were 62% more likely to stray out of their lanes and could only recognise 75% of road signs: all factors that could contribute towards a serious road accident.

Furthermore it concluded that the current UK number plate test is a poor way to measure whether someone’s vision meets the legal minimum standard, as it only tests one aspect of vision and other factors, such as visual field are ignored.

To make our roads safer, RSA is calling for:

  • the number plate test to be scrapped;
  • all learner drivers to have their vision tested by an optician prior to applying for a provisional driving licence; and
  • eye tests to be mandatory every ten years, linked to driving licence renewal.


The majority (92%) of those surveyed believed that people with poor eyesight are a threat to themselves and other road users; 77% supported legislation to increase provisions for eyesight testing when people take a driving test and 75% agreed that eye tests should be mandatory when renewing a licence.

The benefits of frequent eye tests aren’t just limited to the road: they indicate much broader health benefits, including the early detection of diabetes, high blood pressure and even brain tumours.

This is not only highly relevant to individual road users, but fleet managers should ensure that all of their drivers have good eyesight or the correct prescription glasses when behind the wheel. A safer fleet equals fewer claims: improved claims experience that could reap rewards come renewal time. RSA’s FleetActive management programme offers discounts on eye tests and spectacles as well as helping fleet managers to set up their own eye care programme.

For further information on the RSA FleetActive and our other fleet insurance products speak to John Bishop on 0845 371 0769 or emailjohnbishop@flintinsurance.co.uk

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