Accidents Caused by Poor Vision

Approximately 3,000 casualties occurred in the UK due to drivers having poor vision. These road accidents cost the UK an estimated £33 million a year.

If the police suspect you are driving with poor vision they can stop you and perform a road side eye test. This involves a visual acuity test, where the police officer will ask you to read a number plate from 20 metres away. If you are caught driving while your vision does not meet the standard or if you have been specifically advised that it is likely to fall below it (Road Traffic Act 1991) the maximum penalty for driving with defective sight is £1000, three penalty points or a discretionary disqualification.

In the Republic of Ireland you could be fined up to €1,500 and receive five penalty points or even be disqualified. Your vehicle can be impounded if you are disqualified.

A driving licence will not be returned until the driver can demonstrate that their eyesight meets the standard vision for driving.

In the UK if you are driving a vehicle and you do not meet the standards of vision for driving and you are involved in an accident your insurance is invalid and you can be imprisoned for 14 years if you cause death due to dangerous driving and five years for death due to careless driving. Driving with impaired vision which does not meet the standards set is careless and dangerous.

Between 2012 and 2016 almost 50,000 UK drivers had driving licences revoked or refused because of poor vision.

A survey of 2,000 drivers in 2016 found 37% have not had an eye test in the last two years. And 3% – the equivalent to one and a half million UK drivers have never had one. It also discovered that over 20% of people who need corrective spectacles or contact lenses admitted to always driving without them.

By having a regular eye examination you can avoid becoming part of this growing statistic. An eye examination will not just test your vision but it can also find health related problems such as cataracts, age related macular degeneration and even risks of cancer.