During my experience of riding shotgun in wagons since I was 13, then driving wagons for a living 300K Km a year for 15 years, plus my subsequent car driving following other people making a total of over 30 years on the road. I have noticed that there is something funny about the actions of some drivers. The key to this was a past older friend who was not very good at seeing and freaked out if you drove him as a passenger above 30 Mph. Obviously he didn't drive himself although he once had a probably illegal small 120cc motor-bike for a short time. According to the latest statistics there are 20% of drivers who would fail the eyesight test on the roads today. With not looking being the greatest alleged cause of accidents, perhaps many of these accidents are avoidable if you root out those who actually can't see to look properly.

One may be asking how these potentially blind drivers manage to keep on the roads and get from A to B, but its a simple case of finding your way from point to point at a given speed. It was normally the case that dense fog would not significantly slow my progress along the A59 on the way to Skipton at 5 AM in the morning. It was simply a case of learning the route at a said speed / time, the only time you had to slow down was when you had to slow down for any other traffic and get temporarily lost. Then it was just a case of finding the next fixed recognised point on the road and carrying along as usual. It is probably the case that people slamming on the brakes when they get " lost " on motorways in fog causes major accidents. My mum was totally blind for the last few years of her life and could easily navigate around our home like a sighted person just so long a the furniture was not moved. If any strangers came in they did not realise she was blind unless she told them. Before she went blind she was an excellent driver.

Potentially blind drivers may be driving around in the equivalent of dense fog at all times. They normally travel at about 40 Mph everywhere, ( any slower and they know they would stick out like a sore thumb ) and usually have a very long queue behind them on roads with a faster speed limit. It is usually the case that the diver causing the queue is fitted with " Jam Jar " spectacles when you finally pass them on a dual carriageway. Blind drivers are also easy to spot when they stop on the line at roundabouts when all those in the following usual queue can see that the road is clear to proceed. I believe that accidents caused by cars stopping unexpectedly at roundabouts have significantly increased over the past few years. Although some could be due to insurance scams, I suspect that more are caused by blind drivers stopping for no good reason.

By now you may be asking why the government has not introduced annual eye-sight testing for all drivers considering all the other measures it passes allegedly in the interest of road safety. Perhaps the simple fact is that the government actually like lots of road accidents just so long as they don't kill the wage slaves. With disability benefits generally low and relatively difficult to claim the government has nothing to loose by crippling quite a few people every year. Accidents generate a lot of tax revenue in VAT etc. plus the blind drivers are far more likely to be caught by a speed camera in a 30 limit, so plenty of extra revenue from speeding fines. The government also benefits from the extra congestion caused by blind drivers, more in fuel tax and now they are considering congestion charging nationwide. Perhaps it should be up to the insurance companies to require all drivers to produce evidence of good eye-sight when they apply for their new policy each year, perhaps they could offer a discount if one did this. Once again its a case of money comes first, more insurance claims and people with speed camera convictions means higher prices for policies and as third party insurance is a legal requirement to drive they can charge whatever they want.

You also have to ask where the majority of the high profile road safety lobby are when it comes to eye-sight testing, plenty of ban this cut that but not a word on probably one of the most important factors for road safety. The simple truth is that high profile road safety groups like Brake are generally funded by the motor industry itself, and therefore campaigning for the introduction of a measure which could cut 20% of their sponsors best customers is out of the question.

It would be fairly easy to organise a simple but effective eye-sight testing facility at GP's health centres in the treatment room. The test could be on a walk in basis and free to the user and carried out by a member of the nursing staff. Perhaps the test could be phased in starting with older drivers then rolled out to cover everyone with a driving licence around their birthday.

BBC Action Network Blog Response

I couldn't agree more.

You have acurately described my (now deceased) father.

Suffering from macular degeneration, and repeatedly arriving home complaining of how foggy it was (on a clear day) he only decided to stop driving after three crashes into parked cars (no injuries thankfully) and when the compulsory eye test (at eighty, I think) was due.

Being in a car with him was terrifying to the extreme. My mother refused to go out with him. He would simply pull out at roundabouts with a belligerent "they'll get out of my way". He really had no idea if something was coming or not.

It is insane to allow people to drive in this state of health and as my selfish father proved – you cannot rely on people to police themselves."

Why is this idea important?

Adequate eyesight standards for all drivers are the key to improving road safety, at the moment the police don't even bother to routinely eye test drivers involved in accidents or caught by well obvious fixed speed cameras.

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