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16 August 2002

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"Sorry Mate.... I Didn't See You!" Is not good enougth says
SEFTON I.A.M. Group!

As many as a third of UK drivers on the road would fail the basic roadside eyesight test if they had to do it again!   That was the warning today from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Brittan's leading advanced driving organisation.

Welcoming plans outlined by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to roll out new roadside eyesight tests, the IAM has pointed out that poor driving vision is often a major factor in crashes involving motorcyclists.

"It is of course illegal to drive any vehicle with out corrective eyewear if a motorist's vision falls below the minimum standard.  But many drivers do so, because they haven't had a recent eye test."  Says IAM Chief Executive Christopher Bullock.

"Even if a driver can pass the standard daytime numberplate test, that is no use at all as a check on night blindness, tunnel vision or depth perception.  Any one of these conditions could affect a driver's ability to judge a motorcyclist's speed at a junction.  But the clichéd excuse 'Sorry mate - I did not see you' is not good enough.  Since 90% of the sensory information that reaches a drive's brain does so through the eyes, it follows that it is highly dangerous to drive if you can not see properly."

Devised in 1935, Mr Bullock described the standard driving eyesight test as "totally inadequate" when it comes to assessing a person's ability to drive safely in today's congested traffic conditions.  "Roadside furniture and other hazards make that because human sight deteriorates as part of the ageing process, it is right that police should carry out eye sight testing on drivers where appropriate.   There should be stiff penalties for anybody involved in a crash who has driven wilfully knowing that their eyesight is defective." said Mr Bullock.

Many motorists drive with out glasses because of vanity, because they've forgotten them or because they are only going a short distance.  Mr Bullock said that "A spare pair of glasses should be kept in the car and prescription sunglasses can also help improve summer vision.  Every driver should aim to have an eye test once a year!"

On an interesting note the NEW narrower font on number plates means that the eyesight test is now 20 meters, but on a old number plate displaying the old font is still to be read at 20.5 meters.  

If you want to become an advanced driver or want any information on the group call Ray Woods on 01704 538 595 or visit their web site at

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Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.