What is the law about vision and driving?

You must be able to read a registration plate from 20 metres (approximately five car lengths). It is an offence to drive with uncorrected defective eyesight.

Can the police ask me to do a roadside eye test?

You could be asked to undertake the test voluntarily. Otherwise, there must be a suspicion that you may be guilty of driving when you cannot comply with the vision test requirement. If the officer does suspect, you can be required to submit to a test. Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides this power. The test can be carried out between 8am and 9pm, only in daylight.

What if I refuse to do the test?

If the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you have been driving while your eyesight is such that you could not pass the test and you refuse to do so, you are committing an offence.

What could happen?

Failing to stop for a police officer, under section 163, can be punished by a fine. Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight or refusing to submit to a test of vision carries a fine, discretionary disqualification and an obligatory endorsement of three penalty points.

What about my licence, can it be revoked?

If you fail a vision test at the roadside, or fail to comply, the police can immediately report this fact to the DVLA. There is a fast track system whereby a decision to revoke your licence can quickly be made, such a decision taking place within hours. Once your licence is revoked, it will be not be returned until you can demonstrate that your eyesight meets the required standard. Your licence being revoked will not prevent a prosecution for the offences outlined above.

Why is this in the news?

The power for fast-track revocation has existed since 2013. The power is now being widely reported as three police forces have announced their intention to undertake such checks at the roadside, this may be extended nationwide. Based on a study by the Association of Optometrists it is estimated that some 1 million people in the UK are driving illegally. RSA Insurance estimates that eyesight problems cause nearly 3000 casualties per year on the UK roads. The police forces involved in the initiative have said that they will be gathering data as to the extent of any issues. Potentially, this could lead to a further mandatory vision test at some stage after the practical driving test.

What can we do to help?

We are experts in road traffic law and can advise you if you are facing investigation or prosecution. To discuss any aspect of your case, please call Rob Barley on 01502 533020 or email r-barley@nortonpeskett.co.uk

Share |

Make an enquiry

Form by ChronoForms - ChronoEngine.com

Latest News

Twitter

© 2019 Norton Peskett. All Rights Reserved.

Norton Peskett Solicitors