HL Deb 13 March 2003 vol 645 c206WA
The Earl of Caithness

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Macdonald of Tradeston on 26 February ( WA 42), how they know that drivers, especially those over 45 years, can currently satisfy the visual standard for driving; and, if not, what action they are taking to make sure they do. [HL1980]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston

All drivers are required by law to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if at any time they develop an ongoing medical condition affecting their fitness to drive, including defective eyesight. This requirement is prominently displayed on driving licences. Failure to notify DVLA of a medical condition which could affect driving safety is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution, carrying a maximum fine of £1,000.

Drivers' visual acuity is checked at the driving test by the reading of a number plate from a prescribed distance. Drivers can repeat this simple check themselves periodically throughout their driving career and are asked to notify DVLA if their eyesight falls below standard. Because of the potential for more serious consequences of accidents involving large vehicles, such as lorries and buses, drivers of these vehicles are required to undergo a medical examination, including an eyesight test, at age 45 and at five-yearly intervals thereafter until 65, from which time the examination is carried out annually.