Drivers urged to make sure their eyesight is right

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Police tape ENGSUS00120131224120125

Sussex Police are reminding drivers that they need to make sure their eyesight reaches the required standards before they get behind a wheel.

It’s a legal requirement to be able to read a numberplate from 20 metres before you drive and police now have the power to refer someone to the DVLA and have their license revoked should they fail an eyesight test.

PC Andy Huggett said, “You could be taken to court and fined. We now have the power to refer people who fail an eyesight test to the DVLA and actually have their licence revoked within hours. Worst case scenario is somebody gets hurt or killed.

“Please check your eyesight and make sure you are up to scratch and if you believe somebody else is driving with uncorrected vision or if you have any concerns about somebody else’s driving let us know.

“You can either go through Operation Crackdown, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or even just ring 101 .”

The advice comes after a spate of accidents across East Sussex where a driver involved has failed an eyesight test, including one incident in which a 79-year-old man was tested by police officers only to discover he couldn’t read a numberplate further than one metre away.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) requires drivers to be able to read a numberplate at 20.5m for an old style one, or 20m for one made after September 1, 2001. Before any practical driving test, examiners will ensure the driver can read a numberplate on a vehicle parked the adequate distance away. If the driver cannot read it, they will immediately fail their test.

Drivers must also wear glasses or contact lenses every time they drive if you need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’ and inform the DVLA of any changes or problems with eyesight that affects both eyes, not including colour blindness or being short or long sighted. A driver does not need to inform the DVLA if they’ve had surgery to correct short sightedness and can meet the eyesight standards.

Drivers must also have an adequate field of vision, which can be explained and tested by an optician. To read the full list of DVLA requirements for driving, visit the website at