For Better Road Safety This 2020, Go beyond 20/20 Vision, Says GEM
GEM Motoring Assist, a UK-based road safety organization, wants every driver and rider to have their eyesight checked this year. According to the organization, better eyesight among road users can contribute greatly to the reduction of collisions and mishaps on the road, which has the potential to save a lot of lives.
Once again, the safety organization reminds people that a comprehensive professional eye examination can help identify problems early, and in the vast majority of cases, corrected. This can considerably reduce the risk of accidents for the individual and other road users.
“What better time than the year 2020 to get your vision checked properly and ensure the risks you face as a driver or rider are as low as possible?” said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth, adding that drivers should only get behind the wheel when they’re sure they can see properly.
“Poor eyesight is linked to more than 3,000 fatal and serious injury collisions every year. We continue to be concerned that there are too many people driving whose eyesight has deteriorated to a dangerous level. This puts their own safety at risk, as well as the safety of others sharing the same road space,” Worth added.
GEM’s home country of UK introduced the eyesight test to the driving test in 1937. Despite the length of time that it’s been around, the eyesight test for drivers has seen very little updating to reflect the changing number plate sizes.
According to GEM, the test is crude and outdated, as it only measures visual acuity (sharpness). It could also quite easily examine a driver’s field of view, as is done in many US states, to check whether motorists can see and react to what’s happening around them. It is the only eyesight test drivers are required to undertake until they reach the age of 70.
“So many people are staying behind the wheel into their eighties and beyond,” said Worth. “This, coupled with the greater volume of traffic and an increase in distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle, points to the clear need for more regular and detailed eyesight testing.”
Neil Worth adds: “So this year we are encouraging drivers to ensure their eyesight goes beyond 20/20. After all, 20/20 is only an expression of normal visual acuity, but the requirements for safe driving go beyond clarity of central vision.”
“Asking someone to read a number plate at 20.5 meters (67 feet) cannot on its own be a measure of their fitness to continue driving. A proper eye test will also measure peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception, ability to focus and color vision.”
GEM recommends drivers to have their eyes tested once every two years to ensure they have reliable vision and to have any eyesight-related issues addressed immediately.