Young drivers admit poor eyesight

Young drivers admit poor eyesight

Young drivers are far more likely to have problems driving because of poor vision than their older counterparts, according to surprising new research.

The study, commissioned bythinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk , suggests that one in seven young drivers are putting themselves, their passengers and others on the roads at risk by persisting behind the wheel with poor eyesight.

By contrast, just one in 35 drivers aged over 55 think they are risking the safety of themselves or others because of their poor eyesight.

Figures show that more than half of drivers over 55 are required to wear glasses or corrective lenses when driving compared to just a third of young drivers.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "Every motorist regardless of age should regularly be checking that their eyesight is fit for driving. It is a cause for concern that young drivers may be disregarding this and putting lives at risk. There is surely no excuse for not having appropriate glasses or contact lenses - we would advocate the DVLA asking for evidence of this to tighten this process up and really put the onus on the motorist.

"This has traditionally been seen as an issue for the UK's older population, but we know that older drivers tend to be better at self-regulating as they get older. For example, stopping driving at night or on motorways or in adverse weather conditions in response to knowing their own limitations. Family members too, have a role to play in helping older drivers make the right decision regarding when they should hand over their car keys.

"This is clearly something that needs to improve with younger drivers."

The study was released as part of the launch of a new winter driving campaign in the run up to Road Safety Week. Drivers aged 18 to 60 were asked about how they drive and their general eyesight.

One in five young drivers admitted they have at some point been unable to see road signs, compared with just one in 20 older drivers. Similarly, only one in 35 older drivers said they sometimes have trouble reading a number plate compared with one in 20 older drivers.

The thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk campaign will see opticians around Britain running roadside checks, free on-the-spot consultations and advice about where to go for a full eye exam.

Copyright Press Association 2013