Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 30th November 2018

When it comes to driving, good eyesight is crucial. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is urging drivers to check their eyesight after a survey found that half didn’t know the minimum eyesight requirements to hold a licence. By law, a driver needs to be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away. The survey found that 50% didn’t know that it was the legal limit.

The DVLA is asking people to go for an eye test in order to make sure they aren’t breaking the law. The DVLA’s senior doctor, Dr Wyn Parry said “having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests. You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres.”

“You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary) using both eyes together, or if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye. You must also have an adequate field of vision – your optician can tell you about this and do a test.”

Parry also spoke about the simplicity of the number plate test. “The number plate test is a simple and effective way for people to check their eyesight meets the required standards for driving. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to work out what 20 metres looks like at the roadside – this is typically about the length of five cars parked next to each other – and then test yourself on whether you can clearly read the number plate. It’s an easy check to perform any time of day at the roadside and takes just a couple of seconds.”

The survey comes after repeated calls for motorists to go through a compulsory eye test, with some people feeling the current system isn’t adequate.