Drivers face losing licence over roadside eye-tests

Drivers who fail roadside eye-tests could face losing their licence on the spot in a new police initiative to improve safety on the roads.

Three police forces are spearheading the crackdown which will see drivers tested on their vision during routine roadside stops.

If stopped, drivers will be asked to read out the licence plate of another car from 20 metres (65.6 feet) away, with failure to do so potentially resulting in the driver having their licence revoked immediately.

Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands police forces plan to test every driver they stop in the initiative which has been backed by Brake and Vision Express.

If a driver fails the roadside eye-test and the attending officer deems the driver to be unsafe to be on the road, the officer can make a request to the DVLA for an urgent revocation of the driver’s licence.

The power to revoke licences has been available to the police since 2013 under ‘Cassie’s Law’, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord.
Cassie died after an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex – it was later found that the driver of the vehicle had failed police eye-tests just days before but was allowed to continue driving due to a legal loophole.


The roadside vision test is the same as that carried out when a driver takes their practical exam to earn their full driving licence.

Currently, the test completed when taking a practical driving test is the only form of eye-test drivers are required to pass in order to hold a driving licence, it is then left to the driver to report any damage or loss of sight to the DVLA themselves.

While police anticipate that a crackdown on poor vision will help improve road safety, there have also been calls for further eye-tests to be carried out by drivers every 10 years when their licence is renewed.

What if your licence is revoked?

If a driver fails to successfully read a licence plate from 20-metres away, and is deemed to be unsafe to drive their licence can be revoked immediately.

Currently the motorist will receive no points on their license but will instead have to go through the process of applying for a new one.

Once a license is revoked, the DVLA has a disqualification period in which time the driver will not be able to re-apply for a new licence.

So far it is unclear as to the length of this period in this particular instance, however, anyone who fails the roadside test and has their license revoked must submit sufficient evidence that their eyesight has improved adequately for them to return to the wheel before they will be granted a new license.

Once satisfied, the DVLA may also require the driver to take an additional test to prove their vision is roadworthy before being distributing a new driving licence.

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