Transport Scotland has sights on making roads safer

Three quarters of Scottish drivers believe an eye test should be mandatory when renewing a driving licence.
Three quarters of Scottish drivers believe an eye test should be mandatory when renewing a driving licence.

Road signs encouraging drivers in Scotland to have an eye test will be displayed on major transport routes in the country, during Road Safety Week 2016 (November 21-27) as part of an industry-leading campaign which aims to safeguard the UK’s roads.

Spearheaded by Vision Express, the national optical retailer is working with Transport Scotland to ensure ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ signs are displayed across main highways during the awareness week.

The initiative is being backed by Transport Scotland through advocate and Operator Manager, Stein Connelly. This is the second time the national agency has pledged its support; during Road Safety Week 2015, it featured eye-health related messages on its variable message boards on its Trunk road network.

Vision Express hopes the messages will encourage drivers to consider their eyesight before jumping behind the wheel, as it reveals research that shows almost one in five drivers in Scotland hasn’t had an eye test in over five years.

Almost two thirds of drivers in Scotland do not know what the legal eyesight requirement for driving is and six in 10 agree that carrying a reminder on the roads for drivers to have an eye test would be worthwhile.

Stein Connelly of Transport Scotland explains: “We are again backing this campaign because we recognise that vision is a key factor impacting safety, for the driver and other road users alike.

“We hope these prompts get people thinking about when they last had an eye test – worryingly, evidence suggests 13% of Scottish drivers haven’t had once since taking their test, which on average was 14 years ago.”

The Institute for Advanced Motorists, the Road Haulage Association, Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety (PACT), Freight Transport Association and Road Safety GB have all vowed to back the campaign.

Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO comments: “We passionately believe it is critical to educate drivers about sight and we’re thankful to Transport Scotland for helping us spread the message that ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’.

“It’s extremely worrying that reports estimate five million drivers on UK roads would fail a number plate test if they had to take it again. What’s more, almost seven in ten drivers in Scotland agree that reading a number plate as part of a driving test is an outdated and ineffective way to check sight is good enough to drive for years to come. Our own report also reveals that 95% of Scottish drivers don’t realise you can lose 40% of your vision without noticing. An eye test by a qualified optician every two years - or more frequently if advised - is the recommended way to ensure your sight is up to scratch.”

The Vision Express poll also found that one in three UK drivers believe impaired vision is the biggest safety risk on UK roads, second only to use of a mobile phone at the wheel.