Poor eyesight causes thousands of Brits to fail driving tests

Friday, 05 October 2018
Poor eyesight causes thousands of Brits to fail driving tests

With National Eye Health Week just gone and Road Safety Week approaching in November, we all need to assess how we are contributing to the safety of ourselves and others when out driving. Feel Good Contacts has uncovered new DVSA statistics that show just how many people fail their driving test because they can’t read the licence plate from 20 metres away.

The data, which was secured through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, revealed that 2,812 people had a serious fault relating to eyesight between January 2013 and December 2017. At the start of every driving test in the UK, candidates are asked to read out a number plate from 20 metres away, often before they even get in the car. The number has been steadily rising over the last four years, with 508 people failing their driving test for this reason in 2014; in 2017 the total was 17% higher at 599. It’s the easiest part of a driving test, but if you are struggling to read number plates, whether you’re a learner or an experienced driver, it’s important to see an optician as soon as possible and alert the DVLA of any changes.


In the same FOI request, the DVLA also revealed that there has been a 20% increase in drivers alerting the Government organisation to ‘eyesight issues’ over the past 5 years.


Here are our top tips to keep your eyes in top shape for when you’re driving:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Ensure you get enough sleep
  • Take regular breaks
  • Always wear any prescription lenses you have
  • Have the sun visor down when it’s very bright
  • Wear sunglasses on very sunny days. Polarised sunglasses are specially made to reduce both direct and reflective glare.
For more information on how to care for your vision, visit the Feel Good Eyecare Hub.
Here is the full data from the DVSA, in relation to people who have failed their driving test due to eyesight faults. It is worth noting that certain figures have been redacted in the tables. This information was withheld under section 40(2) of the FOIA because it is considered to be personal information that could lead to the identification of an individual.

Year

Age

Female

Male

Total

 

 

 

 

 

2013

17-20

67

100

167

 

21-30

101

135

236

 

31-40

69

66

135

 

41-50

32

34

66

 

51-60

13

9

22

 

61+

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

282

344

632

 

 

 

 

 

2014

17-20

59

82

141

 

21-30

76

105

181

 

31-40

53

56

109

 

41-50

20

31

51

 

51-60

11

9

20

 

61+

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

219

283

508

 

 

 

 

 

2015

17-20

46

95

141

 

21-30

80

124

204

 

31-40

49

52

101

 

41-50

24

29

53

 

51-60

9

12

21

 

61+

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

208

312

528

 

 

 

 

 

2016

17-20

42

83

125

 

21-30

95

116

211

 

31-40

64

71

135

 

41-50

17

30

47

 

51-60

11

7

18

 

61+

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

229

307

545

 

 

 

 

 

2017

17-20

85

91

176

 

21-30

98

126

224

 

31-40

51

58

109

 

41-50

27

40

67

 

51-60

 

 

13

 

61+

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

261

315

599

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1199

1561

2812

Total number of notifications received by DVLA for the last 5 years (eyesight related conditions)

Year

Number of notifications

2013

166,148

2014

161,117

2015

156,367

2016

173,975

2017

200,289

Total

857,896

Total number of licenses that have been refused on application for a licence or revoked for eyesight related conditions over the last 5 years

Year

Group 1 (car/motorcycle)

Group 2 (lorry/bus)

2013

7,373

2,035

2014

9,077

1,306

2015

9,059

1,134

2016

9,094

1,298

2017

8,200

1,192

Total

42,803

6,965

49,768

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