Last reviewed 18 September 2018

This month sees not only the start of autumn, but also the introduction of roadside eyesight tests.

Three police forces are stopping motorists to carry out roadside eye checks, with failure to read a number plate from 20 metres resulting in the driver concerned having their licence revoked.

Lorry drivers in the Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands police regions should expect to have their sight tested if stopped — a move that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed.

Advising drivers to have their eyes tested, RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said that diagnosing poor eyesight saves lives.

“Road safety is our number one priority,” he remarked, “and any measures to make roads even safer are a good thing for all of us.”

With the extent of poor sight among the UK’s driving population thought to be greatly underestimated, data obtained by the three police forces should help to give a better understanding of the problem.

Police will be able to ask the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to revoke the licence of any driver failing the standard sight test, with those concerned then having to re-apply for a licence and provide evidence that their sight meets the required standard.

“Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences,” Sergeant Rob Heard, road safety sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, explained.

The RHA is advising its members to have their eyesight checked regularly and to take advantage of a free eye examination available through a deal that the Association has with Vision Express (for details, see here).