Optometrists call for ability to report patients directly to driving agency

Optometrists are calling for more powers to report on their patients for not wearing their glasses while they drive.

A survey conducted by Direct Line Motor Insurance found that optometrists believe up to 44% of their patients refuse to wear corrective lenses while behind the wheel.

It is up to individual drivers to inform the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they have an eye condition that impairs their driving ability.

Eye testing
Eye testing

However half of the more than 100 eye specialists surveyed said that they would support a change in the law that would require them to report patients directly to the DVLA.

The move would legally override doctor patient confidentiality so that the agency could revoke licenses in the interest of public safety.

According to the study, eight out of 10 optometrists also believe that annual vision tests should be made mandatory for all motorists, regardless of their age or whether or not they have an eye condition.

Almost 80% of the optometrists surveyed called for police to conduct more regular roadside vision tests.

Police target better road safety
Police target better road safety

The survey comes five months after the government published a two-year road safety action plan which put forward proposals for addressing a variety of road safety issues.

Some of these proposals include the introduction of compulsory eyesight tests for drivers over 70 and a graduated licensing scheme for new drivers.

“We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking at ways to make them safer,” former transport minister Michael Ellis said in the report.