DRIVERS are being urged to have their eyes tested as part of Road Safety Week this week.

With about 2900 road casualties caused by poor vision every year, the Optical Confederation (OC) has joined forces with the charity Brake to raise awareness of the impact poor vision can have on driving as part of Road Safety Week (November 21-27).

The theme of this year’s Road Safety Week, the UK’s biggest annual road safety event, is ‘Make the Brake Pledge’. It focuses on six simple elements to make our roads safe – with sharp vision as one of the vital checks for drivers.

Optometrist Henry Leonard, speaking on behalf of the OC, said the relationship between road safety and vision needed to have a greater visibility.

“It’s worrying that there is no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests. A 17-year-old who can read a number plate when they take their driving test may continue driving for the rest of their life with no further checks,” he said.

“Roadside tests have shown that many drivers subsequently fall below the required standard as their eyesight changes over time, often without realising.

“We believe that before being issued a licence, and when licences are renewed every 10 years, drivers should provide evidence that they meet minimum vision requirements.”

Brake Public Affairs Advisor Mike Carr said commitment to regular eye checks would be a major step towards safer driving that would ultimately save lives.

Road Safety Week was founded by Brake in 1997 as an annual event to raise awareness about road safety and promotes steps that everyone can take to stop deaths and injuries year-round.

You can find out more about the issues around poor vision and driving through the OC’s advice sheet ‘Vision – Key Facts for Drivers’.