As signatures for the Driving Blind petition near a milestone 3,000 – the same number as that of annual casualties caused by drivers with defective vison – it becomes apparent that the British public is serious about making roads safer by stopping people driving blind.

In my role as vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety, I’ve championed the benefits of roads policing and how it has a positive impact on road safety and safer communities. A lack of funding has seen a 30% drop in the UK’s traffic police force in the last ten years, while the number of accidents has steadily climbed.  It’s hard to believe there isn’t a link between the two and there’s an obvious lack of recognition of the role that road policing plays in protecting our communities from harm.

It’s promising that three police forces trialled road side vision spot-checks during September 2018, but wouldn’t it be simpler and more resourceful to make eye tests compulsory for all drivers?   Police officers have enough to keep them busy without adopting the role of an optician too.

The Driving Blind campaign is sensibly calling for regular, compulsory eye tests for all drivers as part of licence renewal applications.  In the UK, unlike many other European states, drivers have to self-report and self-regulate their vision, despite evidence showing that they often neglect eye-exams.

A serious political re-think at the highest level is now required. That is why I’m saying no to driving blind, supporting the evidence presented in the Driving Blind manifesto and calling for a political debate.

Viscount Simon 

References:

https://www.evo.co.uk/news/19768/british-road-traffic-police-numbers-on-the-decline