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The responsibilty is on drivers to state when their eyesight is too bad to drive

Nearly 6000 drivers had their licences revoked in 2011 because their eyesight was so poor, a 10 per cent rise on the previous year - and among bus and lorry drivers a 39 per cent rise.

5,285 licences for cars and motorbikes and 685 lorry and bus drivers's licences were stopped last year because holders could not pass a standard eye test.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond told the Mail Online: "Licensing rules have an important part to play in keeping our roads safe. 

"We must make sure that only those who are safe to drive are allowed on our roads while at the same time avoiding placing unnecessary restrictions on people’s independence. 

"All drivers must meet certain minimum eyesight standards.  There are additional checks for drivers of large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles, which we strictly enforce. 

"This is to protect the driver and other road users given their size, the number of passengers and the likely additional distance and time spent on the road."

Labour MP Meg Munn said in Parliament: "A recent report showed that in 2010 road accidents caused by poor driver vision resulted in an estimated 2,874 casualties.

"These figures provide information on how many drivers who have come forward and reported problems with their vision to the DVLA had their licenses revoked or refused.

"I will be continuing to seek further information to ensure that robust measures are in place to check drivers’ vision, so we can continue to improve road safety. For most people it is simply a matter of getting their eyes tested to ensure they have glasses or contact lenses if required."

The responsibilty is on drivers to state when their eyesight is too bad to drive, but police can undertake roadside vision tests.

Under Department for Transport rules, all drivers should be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away, with glasses or contact lenses if necessary. They should also be able to pass an eye test with an optician and have an adequate field of vision.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.