Drivers who fail roadside vision check will lose their license immediately

The police just announced they are planning to test the vision of every motorist they stop in certain areas. The three forces taking part, in the South of England, will help identify and clamp down on drivers with poor eyesight with a roadside vision check. Drivers unable to pass the roadside vision check risk having the police revoke their license on the spot.

Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring their vision meets the UK Driving Standard?

A common question our patients ask here at Custom Vision Clinic is whether they are able to drive based on their vision. Often the patients are under the impression that it is up to the ophthalmologist to decide whether or not they are fit to drive. It’s not. It is the patient’s responsibility to ensure that they meet the UK driving standard and they must inform the DVLA if they do not meet that standard.

The role of the optometrist or ophthalmologist is to advise the patient if their vision is likely to meet the driving standard. An individual should be capable of testing themselves to see whether they can read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres.

It’s actually quite a big deal for an ophthalmologist to contact the DVLA directly to inform them that a patient’s vision falls below the driving standard. Unless the patient gives permission, this direct contact would be a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Nevertheless, if it is in the interest of public safety to inform the DVLA, then the ophthalmologist has a responsibility to break doctor-patient confidentiality and inform the DVLA that a patient is driving despite being below the UK driving standard.

Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people who drive without the required optical correction

While some drivers may be aware their vision isn’t perfect, others are unaware that they are driving illegally. Some of these drivers should certainly consider laser eye surgery so that they can drive legally without the hassle of spectacles or contact lenses. Other people have vision that the development of cataracts has compromised. We can cure cataracts with a straightforward operation in the majority of cases and can help restore your vision to the level required for safe driving.

Would you pass a roadside vision check?

If you’d like to understand if you are driving legally and understand more about how you may be able to enjoy freedom from spectacles and/or contact lenses, or if you feel that your vision might be clouding or yellowing, you can contact us at Custom Vision Clinic for a complimentary initial consultation. Get in touch and you can gain peace of mind that the police will not revoke your license if they pull you over while driving for a roadside vision check.

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About the author

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic, The Yorkshire Eye Hospital, St James’s University Hospital, and Nuffield Hospital. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Learn more about me