Article by the DVLA
General Optical Council

Article by the DVLA: the importance of standards of vision for driving

 
Reminding drivers of the importance of meeting the standards of vision for driving is always high on the DVLA’s priorities.
 
Opticians and other medical professionals have an important part to play, usually being the first to identify a change in a driver’s eyesight or that they may no longer meet the standards for driving. The standards are set to ensure road safety – ultimately to keep drivers and other road users safe. 
 
You may already be aware that guidance is set out in ‘Assessing fitness to drive – a guide for medical professionals’ which is published on GOV.UK. But what you may not know is that it is updated at least twice a year following medical panels.  To make sure you are kept up to date with the latest information, sign up now to receive email alerts. You’ll receive an email each time the guide is updated, straight to your inbox.
 
The DVLA regularly reminds drivers to get their eyesight tested at least every two years and go to the optician as soon as they notice a change in their eyesight. 
 
The DVLA doctor, Dr Gareth Rees, is the Vision Panel Secretary on the Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on driving and visual disorders. Dr Rees recently wrote an interesting blog to highlight the importance of regular eye tests for drivers.
 
Many drivers who do the right thing and tell the DVLA about changes in their eyesight often keep their driving licence. This could be a short-term driving licence for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years and when it’s due for renewal, the DVLA will let them know.
 
If a driver doesn’t meet the eyesight standards, they need to stop driving immediately and tell the DVLA either online or by post.  Third party notifications are also accepted if the person telling the DVLA has concerns about someone’s fitness to drive.
 
More information about driving with a medical condition can be found on GOV.UK
 
The DVLA also provides a confidential hotline with a DVLA medical adviser between 10.30am and 1pm on their helpline 01792 782337, the line is open between 10.30am and 1pm.
 
GOC guidance
 
Later this year the GOC will be consulting on new guidance for practitioners when a patient’s eyesight is not suitable for driving. Look out for it later this year
 

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