Eyesight and Driving

Eyesight and Driving

Key Facts:

  • Good vision is essential for safe driving and motorcycling. The law sets minimum eyesight standards that drivers and motorcyclists must meet.

  • There are no official estimates of the number of drivers and motorcyclists on the road with eyesight that fails to meet the minimum legal standards. However, some studies suggest 2% to 3% of drivers have vision below the minimum legal standards.

  • Poor vision is only recorded as a contributory factor in less than 1% of reported road deaths and injuries, although this may be an under-estimate due to the difficulties in assessing whether poor eyesight played a role in accidents.

  • In 2011, 5,285 drivers and motorcyclists had their licences revoked because they could not pass a standard eye test, an increase of 8% since 2010.

  • There is only weak evidence of a link between poor vision and increased accident risk. However, research establishes how vision defects impair driving, and potentially increase crash risk.

  • Eyesight problems become more prevalent as we grow older, and the driving of older people is more likely to be impaired by eyesight problems.

  • Field of View Defects have been associated with impaired driving, although the impairment varies between individuals.

  • Cataracts cause more significant driving impairment than most other forms of poor vision, but cataract surgery can solve these problems.

  • Poor vision causes greater impairment at night. Particular difficulties include the ability to see pedestrians, road signs, hazards in the road and glare from oncoming vehicle headlights.

  • Some drivers who pass the driving eyesight test still exhibit impaired driving due to poor eyesight. There are calls for the Number Plate Test to be replaced with a proper assessment of visual acuity performed under controlled conditions.


  • Date Added: 14 Mar 2013, 11:55 AM
  • Last Update: 11 Dec 2017, 04:53 PM