HC Deb 08 March 1967 vol 742 cc1494-6
10. Mr. Dance

asked the Minister of Transport whether she will introduce legislation to require driving licences to indicate, where appropriate, that the holder should wear spectacles when driving, such information having been obtained from the application form.

Mr. John Morris

No, Sir. Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act, 1962, already makes it an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle if his eyesight, with the aid of glasses if worn, is such that he cannot meet the standard prescribed for the driving test. The endorsement suggested would be of no particular help in enforcing this standard.

Mr. Dance

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that driving a car without wearing spectacles when one should be wearing them can be extremely dangerous? Does not he agree that this proposal would do something to encourage motorists to wear glasses when they should?

Mr. Morris

Endorsement would not help unless it gave the prescription of glasses to be worn. The standard of eyesight is the important factor in the wearing of glasses, which may require changing to meet changed standards, but there is no evidence of connection between not wearing glasses and accidents.

14. Mr. Awdry

asked the Minister of Transport whether she now proposes to alter the regulations for testing the eyesight of drivers.

Mr. John Morris

No, Sir. We have no evidence at present to suggest that any change is necessary.

Mr. Awdry

Does not the Minister agree that the present eyesight test is only a very superficial one? Would not regular and more stringent tests help towards road safety?

Mr. Morris

As I said earlier, there is no evidence to connect accidents with the wearing or not wearing of glasses. Everyone has to make a statutory declaration at the time of the renewal of each licence.

Mr. Ogden

Is my hon. Friend aware that on the N.H.S. one can only get spectacles which have rims, such as the ones I have in my hand now? One can buy glasses without rims which give a driver a better range of vision. Would he ask his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to consider providing rimless spectacles on the National Health?

Mr. Morris

As my hon. Friend has indicated, this is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health. I am sure that he will be aware of what has transpired in the course of this discussion.