A new study has found that 65% of drivers are unaware of the need for minimum vision to drive safely.
- 67% of those surveyed believe that drivers aged 60+ should not be allowed behind the wheel.
- One in ten drivers break the law and do not wear their prescribed glasses while driving.
- Men (53%) are more consistent in wearing their glasses behind the wheel than women (48%).
In 2019, about 7,000 people lost their licenses because of their sight, which works for 19 people every day.
To mark Road Safety Week Contact lens retailer Lensto has surveyed 1,029 UK drivers on how often they drive after wearing their prescription glasses, when their last vision was tested, and their opinions on our road tests, driving and older generation.
65% of drivers do not know the minimum vision requirements
The legal vision standard set by the DVLA means you must be able to read a number plate 20 meters away. In addition, your vision should not be worse than 6/12 (decimal 0.5) on the current Snealen scale.
|How many meters away will you be able to read a registration plate to drive safely?||Feedback|
When asked about vision requirements, 65% of drivers answered incorrectly, citing distances above or below the minimum value, compared to exactly 35% of drivers who answered correctly.
Less than half of drivers who wear contact lenses wear their prescribed glasses 100%, less than one third
Wearing set glasses or contact lenses allows you to meet the 6/12 (decimal 0.5) value. If you drive on public roads without meeting these requirements, your license may be revoked and you may be sued.
Less than half (48%) of divers wear glasses for continuous driving. More than a quarter (26%) of respondents wear their glasses half the time while driving, and one in 10 do not wear the wheel at all.
|How often do you wear glasses while driving?||Feedback|
|I wear glasses 100% of the time while driving||48%|
|I wear glasses 75-99% of the time while driving||15%|
|I wear glasses 50-74% of the time while driving||12%|
|I wear glasses 25-49% of the time while driving||7%|
|I wear glasses less than 25% of the time while driving||7%|
|I don’t wear my glasses while driving||11%|
Interestingly, 53% of men wear their prescription glasses 100% of the time while driving, compared to 44% of women.
People aged 55 or older always wear their glasses while driving (61%) more consistent (30.5%) than those who wear glasses between the ages of 17-24.
|How often do you wear contact lenses while driving?||Feedback|
|I wear 100% contact lenses while driving||30%|
|I wear contact lenses 75-99% of the time while driving||27%|
|I wear contact lenses 50-74% of the time while driving||22%|
|I wear contact lenses 25-49% of the time while driving||7%|
|I wear contact lenses less than 25% of the time while driving||7%|
|I do not wear my contact lenses while driving||৮%|
Contact lens users are less likely to wear their prescription glasses behind the wheel. Only 30% of drivers wear them all the time while driving, a third wears 25-75% of the time behind the wheel.
27% of people believe that drivers should be fined if they are not caught wearing their specs or contact lenses, while 15% believe that they should be banned from driving.
One out of every five respondents had their eyesight tested more than two years ago, which is a standard requirement
It is recommended that everyone (driver or not) have their eyes checked every two years. Our eyes get worse over time, so drivers should be aware of changes in their vision and if they are anxious and arrange an eye exam with their local eye doctor.
Our study found that 22% of drivers had their eyesight tested more than two years ago, compared to 78% who went to their ophthalmologist within the recommended time. On average, drivers had their vision tested 1.5 years ago.
|When was the last time you had a vision test?||Feedback|
|I never checked my eyesight||0.4%|
|Less than six months ago||24%|
|Until six months, a year ago||28%|
|More than a year, up to 2 years ago||26%|
|More than 2 years, up to 3 years ago||11%|
|More than 3 years, up to 4 years ago||৬%|
|More than 4 years, up to 5 years ago||3%|
Two out of three believe that drivers over the age of 60 should not be allowed behind the wheel
Drivers over a certain age may experience more difficulties on the road when it comes to their vision and ability to react quickly. However, it is noteworthy that many perfectly capable drivers are moving into their nineties, including the Queen.
According to the Department of Transportation, 77% of people over the age of 70 have a driver’s license. For 60-69 year olds it is 10% more.
Interestingly, the majority of people surveyed (67%) believe that drivers over the age of 60 should not be allowed to drive on public roads.
One in five believe that drivers must retake their driving test every five years to determine if they are fit to drive.
The Association of Optometrists has previously called for all drivers to undergo a mandatory vision test when they first apply for a license and then renew their license every 10 years (and every 3 years for those over 70). 68% of respondents believe that drivers over the age of 40 should have an eye examination once a year to determine if they are fit to drive.
Being behind the wheel driving at night affects our ability to see the most
A number of conditions while driving can make our ability to see and drive safely more challenging.
Our eyes are sensitive to light, may be enlarged by rain or darkness. More than half of drivers (55%) have difficulty seeing while driving in the rain because of their eyesight, and 59% have difficulty driving at night.
|Condition||% Of people have some difficulty seeing|
Driving tired can make it difficult for your eyes to focus and require high attention during rush hour. The results showed that 52% of drivers experienced some difficulty seeing when they were tired due to their eyesight and 37% experienced difficulty driving while in crowds.
Roshni Patel MCOptom, Ophthalmologist, Comment:
“There are still a number of accidents on the road due to poor eyesight. It is very important for drivers to have their eyes checked regularly. Drivers must have their eyes checked at least once every two years so that they are suitable for the road and do not pose any danger to themselves or others. If you experience a deterioration in your vision or a change in your vision, it is important to arrange an eye examination as soon as possible. Poor eyesight can cause a slow reaction to things happening on the road which can increase the chances of an accident.
In addition to having your eyes checked regularly, drivers need to be extra careful when driving at certain times of the year and in certain situations. During the winter months, for example, the sun tends to rise and fall during peak hours, which can affect the driver’s vision and prevent them from seeing. Drivers can take simple precautions such as always keeping sunglasses in their car, using their visor and making sure their windscreen is clean. Allowing extra distance between cars around you and slowing down is another way to help reduce accidents in difficult visual situations. “
Research Credit: Lensstore.
Methods and formulas
A survey conducted by CensusWide with 1,029 participants based in the UK
Gov UK Statistical Dataset – The number of reported road accidents and casualties
Geographer – the population of the city
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