Police Are Going to Start Testing Drivers' Eyesight by the Side of the Road

By Tom Pritchard on at

If you get pulled over by the police, generally speaking they'll make sure the car you're driving is yours, that you have got a valid licence, and in some cases they'll test to make sure you're not too drunk to be legally driving. Now, though, they may be checking to see if your eyesight is good enough, because if it's not they'll be taking your driving licence off you.

The test is being carried out throughout September by police in the West Midlands, Thames Valley, and Hampshire, and involves being able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. It's not the most challenging of tests, so if you fail it means you definitely shouldn't be driving on the road. Mainly because the law says all drivers have to be able to read a number plate from 20.5 metres away anyway. So make sure you're not irresponsibly driving without your glasses.

Currently the police are able to issue an 'urgent license revocation' with the DVLA if they believe a driver is too dangerous to continue driving, a power granted to them by 'Cassie's Law'. The law was named after 16-year old Cassie McCord who was hit and killed in 2013 by an 87-year old driver that had failed a police eye test just days before. Thanks to a legal loophole the man was able to keep driving.

This news also comes days after Surrey Police were forced to pull over an 87-year old who pulled out onto the A3 in the wrong direction. He voluntarily surrendered his licence after a police test revealed he was only able to read a number plate from 7.3 metres away.

Incidents like this are why campaigners are calling for a mandatory eye test to be part of the licence renewal process every ten years. Currently the only test in place is being asked to read a umber plate during the practical driving test, a situation that has been referred to as "madness". And it's a good point. If you can't see what's around you on the road you definitely shouldn't be driving. In fact, it's probably a good idea to start forcing drivers to retake their test a set intervals - especially as they get older. A lot can happen to a person after the age of 17, and that doesn't necessarily bode well for our driving abilities. [Sky News]