HC Deb 15 May 1963 vol 677 cc1299-300
3. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that Form D.L.1, the form for application for a licence to drive a motor vehicle, gives to the applicant the impression that to be able to read at a distance of 25 yards in good daylight, with glasses if worn, a motor car number plate containing six letters and figures is an adequate visual standard for driving, and that this standard does not exclude sufferers from double vision and other visual disorders dangerous for drivers; and what action he proposes to take to clarify the requirements stated on the form.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Question 15 on form D.L.1 requires an applicant to declare any disability, other than those specifically mentioned in questions Nos. 12 to 14, which might be a source of danger when driving. It would be diffi- cult, in a form of this kind, to prescribe standards for double vision and other eyesight defects. Nevertheless, we will bear the hon. Member's point in mind.

Mr. Cronin

Is not the hon. and gallant Gentleman taking this rather lightheartedly? Is not he aware that there are large numbers of people driving cars who have double vision, night blindness and many other kinds of impaired vision, and that large numbers of people drive without wearing their glasses although they are half blind without them? Would it not be desirable to have an inquiry into the whole matter?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

We have at present little or no direct evidence that defective vision is a major cause of road accidents. Nevertheless, it is proposed to examine whether the eyesight requirements for drivers need to be tightened up, and discussions are taking place with the medical profession on the standards needed.