drivers

Picture credit: Rex Features

A surge of people losing their driving licences due to poor vision has been reported by a retail motor organisation.

Research by Co-operative Motor Group found that 4,009 UK drivers had their licences revoked due to failed vision in 2010. This compared to 3,014 licences being lost in 2009.

The number of drivers in the UK to have their licences revoked due to failing eyesight has more than doubled in the past four years, from 1,597 in 2006.

As previously, glaucoma continued to preclude most people from driving last year, accounting for 1,146 of the licences revoked.

The next most common causes were retinopathy, visual field defects and cataracts, the research found.

Tony Guest, managing director of the Co-operative Motor Group, said: 'Good eyesight is essential to safe motoring, and we would urge anybody who has concerns over their vision to contact a specialist. There is no room for complacency when it comes to road safety.

'Many motorists have not had an eye test for years, and these latest figures highlight that with lost licences on the increase the need for more frequent testing is higher than ever.'

UK law dictates that drivers concerned about their vision should see a doctor or eye specialist and, if advised to do so, contact the DVLA to report any condition that makes it dangerous to drive.

Co-operative Motor Group said failure to do so was punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and would also invalidate driver insurance.

Alison Hughes, senior community engagement officer at road safety charity Brake, said: 'Good eyesight is one of the most basic requirements for safe driving. Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they are fit to drive, and as such Brake is calling on all drivers to have their eyesight tested every two years and report any deterioration in vision to the DVLA without delay.

'Brake also calls on the government to impose measures to ensure that eyesight is properly tested at the point of taking a driving test, as the current 'number plate' test is wholly inadequate for testing the vision a driver uses on a daily basis. An eye test should also be a requirement of licence renewal.'