MSP backs calls for awareness about the importance of good driver eye health

Mr Stevenson attended an event in the Scottish Parliament where MSPs got the chance to test a driving simulator
Mr Stevenson attended an event in the Scottish Parliament where MSPs got the chance to test a driving simulator

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has lent his support for calls to improve awareness among Scottish drivers about the importance of up-to-date eye tests.

It comes after fresh figures revealed crashes involving a driver with poor vision cause more than 2,000 casualties a year across the UK.

And research by Vision Express and OnePoll also found 15% of drivers have not had an eye test since passing their driving test – on average – 14 years previously.

Mr Stevenson attended an event in the Scottish Parliament where MSPs got the chance to test a driving simulator, replicating the experience of driving with Glaucoma.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said: “Many people don’t realise that changes in sight can be gradual, and experts say that it’s possible to lose up to 40% of your vision before even noticing it.

“That’s why drivers of all ages have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians to ensure they take their eye health seriously.

“Using the driving simulator, I experienced for myself just how debilitating and dangerous it can be to drive with impaired vision.”

New polling published this week by Vision Express reveals that many people who drive as part of their job - who between them clock up billions of miles each year on Scotland’s roads - are not taking regular eye tests. The YouGov research polled Scots who drive for work, and found that:

● Almost a quarter are not having regular eye tests

● 4% haven’t had a test in at least 10 years

● 3% have never had their eyes tested

● 14% would flout the requirement to voluntarily inform the DVLA if an eye test showed they were unfit to drive

● Over a third (38%) say their job would be at risk if their eyesight fell below the standard to drive. In fact, 27% would lose their job if they lost their licence

In 2016, there were 44,048 work-related road casualties. A quarter of the drivers surveyed in Vision Express' research considered sub-standard sight to be among the most significant road safety hazards and almost nine in 10 (84%) claimed to feel unsafe if other road users have poor vision.

Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express chief executive, said: “The Health & Safety Executive estimates that a third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work, so ensuring these individuals have eye sight that is up to scratch can have a significant impact on improving road safety.

“Vision Express is calling on the Scottish Government to help us to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye tests for drivers. To this end we’re delighted that the Scottish Government has agreed to display awareness messages on Scottish roads, alerting drivers to the importance of good eye health.”