Hastings Direct news: Cassie's law & the legal eyesight for driving
Hundreds of motorists have lost their licence after failing roadside eyesight tests under new, stricter powers introduced in 2013, the Guardian reports.
In 2011, 87-year-old Colin Horsfall was driving in Colchester, Essex, when he mounted a kerb and hit Cassie McCord, 16, who suffered fatal head injuries. It was later revealed that Mr Horsfall had failed an eyesight test several days prior to the incident; yet, at the time, police officers did not have the power to immediately ban him from driving.
Cassie's mother, Jackie Rason, called for changes to the law following the death of her daughter, which eventually led to new powers, known as 'Cassie's law,' being introduced in 2013. Under the new law, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) is able to suspend licences more quickly.
Figures gained through a Freedom of Information Act revealed that since 2013, British police forces have applied to revoke the licences of 631 drivers who failed an eyesight test. In the majority of cases — 609 — the DVLA suspended the licences.
Mrs Rason said it was "brilliant news" and admitted she was unaware of the how widely the new law was being implemented.
"That's more than 600 people who could still be driving, perhaps without even knowing there was a problem with their sight," she said. "You can't say that in every case they would have killed somebody, but it is very likely to have prevented fatal accidents and other casualties."
If a police officer feels that a driver is putting other road users' safety at risk, they are now able to apply for immediate revocation of their licence through the DVLA.
Under the new law, there are three levels of revocation: immediate; within 48 hours; and postal, whereby a letter will be sent to drivers within 24 hours of police notification.
Mrs Rason said she will continue pushing for tougher driving laws, such as compulsory eye tests for all motorists and further checks for over-70s.
Here's a brief outline of the DVLA's driving eyesight rules:
- If you need to wear contact lenses or glasses to meet the standards of vision for driving, then you must wear them every time you drive.
- You must notify the DVLA if you have if you have an issue which affects both of your eyes. This does not include being colour blind, long sighted or short sighted. You do not need to notify the DVLA if you have had if you have undergone surgery to correct short-sightedness to meet driving standards.
- You can search the A to Z of medical conditions page to find out if you need to notify the DVLA about your eyesight problem.
- You must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary).
- You must have an adequate field of vision in order to drive — your optician can explain what this is and carry out a test.
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