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Motorists urged to test eyesight amid shortsightedness concerns

The ‘number plate test’ reflects the legal distance from which all motorists should be able to read a sign.

Motorists are being urged to test their eyesight amid concern many behind the wheel do not realise they are too shortsighted to drive.

The DVLA has launched an awareness campaign calling on drivers to test whether they can see a number plate from 20 metres away.

The “number plate test” reflects the legal distance from which all motorists should be able to read a sign.

It comes as a DVLA survey indicated less than half of drivers knew that 20 metres was the legal limit for sight.

Five car lengths is said to roughly match the distance and road users are being encouraged to use the measure to test their vision on passing signs.

Anyone concerned about their vision should visit an optician or optometrist for an eye test, the DVLA said.

Wyn Parry, the DVLA’s senior doctor, said: “The number plate test is a simple and effective way for people to check their eyesight meets the required standards for driving.

“The easiest and quickest way to do this is to work out what 20 metres looks like at the road side – this is typically about the length of 5 cars parked next to each other – and then test yourself on whether you can clearly read the number plate.

“It’s an easy check to perform any time of day at the road side and takes just a couple of seconds.

“Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests.”

Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time, he added, meaning those who have never needed glasses before could eventually require a pair.

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