DVLA issues urgent safety warning with elderly drivers set to be most affected

Motoring: Police introduce roadside eyesight tests for UK drivers

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They said good eyesight was “essential” for safe driving to ensure motorists detected road hazards. Older drivers are at higher risk as the DVLA warns vision can “naturally deteriorate” over time.

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The DVLA said it was “important” for road users to have regular eye tests with motorists able to test themselves from home.


They said drivers can simply test their eyes by attempting to read a number plate from twenty meters.

The test is often done by driving instructors before tests to ensure any new student is safe on the roads.

However, the tests are likely not conducted by road users every time they get in their cars meaning some motorists could be at risk of accidents.

Lynette Rose, Director of Strategy, Policy and Communication at DVLA urges road users to visit their optician if they have any concerns.

She said: “The number plate test is a simple and effective way for motorists to check their eyesight meets the required standard for driving which includes reading a number plate clearly from 20 metres.

“Anyone can do the test at any time. Twenty metres is typically around the length of five cars parked next to each other.

“You can test yourself on whether you can clearly read a number plate of the furthest car.

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“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for motorists to have regular eye tests.

“Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician – don’t wait for your next check-up.”

A new survey from the DVLA found fewer than half of road users from all ages were aware they needed to read a number plate from 20 metres to drive safely,

Just 744 were aware of the rule out of more than 1,600 drivers who were polled in July 2021.

A total of 322 drivers thought they only needed to be able to read a plate from 15 metres away while 454 thought it was 25 metres.

However, 103 drivers polled did not have any idea of how many metres drivers should be able to read number plates,

Joanna Bradley, Head of Support Services at Glaucoma UK said drivers should “not delay” getting their vision checked.

She said: “Everyone should have regular eye tests, at least every two years, so that your optician can check the health of your eyes.

“It is vital that if you recognise changes in your eyesight in the meantime, you visit an optician as soon as possible.

“Many people may have seen changes to their vision over the past year and may have missed a test due to the pandemic.

“We’d urge anyone with concerns not to delay getting tested as their vision could get worse.

“We support the DVLA’s Number Plate Test campaign and its crucial safety message, and we hope this will raise awareness of the importance of regular testing among the public.”

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