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UK introduces roadside eye tests

By Cameron Kirby, 04 Sep 2018 News

UK introduces roadside eye tests

Licences revoked on the spot for vision shortcomings

POLICE in the United Kingdom will begin trialling new roadside eye tests for drivers, which will carry harsh punishments for failure.

Drivers will be asked to read a numberplate from a distance of 20 metres away, and The Telegraph reports a failure will result in their licence being instantly revoked. A similar vision test is given to new drivers applying for a licence.

According to reports by UK media, the vision test will be given at every police stop.

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The new test is currently being trialled by police in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and will provide data ahead of a potential nationwide roll out.

Senior instructor for Evolve Driving, Dean Sammut, was sceptical whether a similar test would improve road safety significantly if introduced in Australia.

“First of all, vision is hugely important when driving,” he said. “But, overall, when you consider is this something that we need to police, I don’t think this is one of the major cause of our crashes.

“I think there are many other issues that need to be addressed before that one.”

Sammut pointed at distracted driving as a more urgent behaviour on our road that needed addressing, both through police enforcement, and new awareness campaigns.

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“All improvements for road safety are important and valuable, but I don’t know if [vision tests] are a wise way to go about it,” he added.

Drivers with poor vision in Australia are subject to a number of different tests, and can be issued conditional licences which may impose conditions on where and when they can drive, and may require approval from an ophthalmologist or optometrist to attain a licence.

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These tests and restrictions vary for each State and Territory.