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February 13, 2012

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Fleet bosses oppose weaker driver-eyesight rules

The majority of fleet managers do not agree with government proposals to reduce the distance at which drivers are required to read a vehicle number plate, saying this would reduce road safety.

This is one of the key findings of research carried out by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, which quizzed fleet managers from 164 companies. Asked about the Government’s plans to reduce the distance for the number-plate test to 17.5 metres from 20.5 metres, the majority of fleet managers (58 per cent) voiced their disapproval.

The survey revealed a lack of understanding on what the law requires. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) believed the law demands a full eye test, a test of peripheral vision, as well as the ability to read a number plate at the current set distance. In fact, the number-plate test is the only requirement by law.

The vast majority of fleet managers (91 per cent) consider it to be very important that their employees who drive in the course of their work have their eyes tested. Worryingly, more than half (54 per cent) said they are concerned that some of their employees may be driving despite inadequate eyesight. However, only 38 per cent of respondents actually have a policy in place to test the eyesight of occupational drivers.

Of those who do not have an eyecare policy, 70 per cent could not explain why, while, for the remaining 30 per cent, time, cost and a lack of know-how as to how to implement such a policy were the chief reasons.

Commenting on the findings, Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “Far from reducing the standards for drivers’ eyesight, we are keen for the Government to implement fuller testing procedures. We believe that all drivers, particularly those who are at increased risk – employees who drive in the course of their work, so are in the car for longer – should undergo a full eye examination, including tests of acuity and visual fields, to determine that they are safe to drive.”

His thoughts were echoed by road-safety charity Brake, whose deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: “Too often we hear of drivers with poor eyesight causing needless tragedies, devastating families. Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, yet currently our legal requirements are woefully inadequate. We’re urging the Government to implement requirements for a proper vision test at the point of taking your driving test and, at least, every 10 years thereafter.

“But, in the face of deeply-concerning government proposals to reduce eyesight testing standards, conscientious employers must be even more proactive in introducing comprehensive eyesight policies, ensuring staff driving on company time are not putting themselves and others at risk.”

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12 years ago

What is the mentality behind the government, it seems that they want to change everything for the sake of change. Personally I don’t think they are competent to do their job as they seem to be proving time and again. Perhaps we should reduce the eyesight requirements to discerning light and dark. Idiots!!!