Driving eyesight requirements

There are driving eyesight requirements that all motorists must meet by law. You can and should wear glasses or contact lenses in order to fulfil the criteria. If you’re caught driving without the correct standards of vision for driving, you could be prosecuted.

Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million per year in the UK. Eyesight deterioration can be slow which is why it’s so important to have your eyes tested at least every two years, or straight away if you notice a problem.

If you have any problems with your eyes other than being long or short sighted or colour-blind, you must inform the DVLA. If you’re unsure whether you need to report your eye ailment, use the A to Z of medical conditions on the DVLA website.

What are the driving eyesight requirements?

You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres. You must also have a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale and an adequate field of vision. Your optician will be able to test for all three of these factors.

Drivers aged over 70 have to declare when renewing their licence that their eyesight meets minimum legal standards. They don’t have to provide evidence of this but could be held liable if they’re in an accident and it’s thought that poor eye health was a contributing factor.

Driving test eye test

Every learner driver is subjected to a quick eye test at the beginning of their official driving test. This involves correctly reading a number plate on a parked vehicle. If they get it wrong, they fail the entire test immediately. Also, the DVLA will be told and your licence will be revoked. You can reapply for a driving license but you’ll be asked to have an eyesight test with DVSA at a driving test centre. If you pass, you can then go on to take the driving test.

Find further information here on car insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019* to get a quote.

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