Healthy eyes and good eyesight are an absolute must for all drivers. Specsavers Corporate are committed to ensuring that professional drivers are safe on the road thereby enabling employers to safeguard their reputations as responsible operators.  

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Driving and eyesight: The statistics

Driving at night is one of the most visually demanding tasks. This makes occupational driving a risk-prone work environment. In fact, a third of road deaths and a fifth of serious injuries are sustained in accidents involving a working driver or rider.¹ And around 40% of UK road accidents occur in the hours of darkness.² 

Safeguarding is imperative, with nearly half (45%) of employers being concerned that employees who drive during the course of their work may not have adequate eyesight to do so safely. Moreover, 11% of employers are still failing to offer eye care to any of their drivers. 17% only offer it to some drivers.

Driving at night 

Decreased visibility is the most obvious danger of night driving. A big part of this is the obvious fact that headlights do not illuminate as much of the road as broad daylight. Far too often, employee accident reports state that a hazard “came out of nowhere”, precisely because the distance a driver can see is shortened in dark conditions. 

Drivers tend to be more tired at night, making people more accident prone. Combined with the worsened depth perception, ability to distinguish colour, and peripheral vision in low-light conditions — the transition from driving in daylight to nighttime can create a tangible strain on the eyes.

Glare is another major risk, especially when employees are moving in and out of lit/unlit stretches of road. Our eyes become less effective at reacting to changes in lighting conditions as we get older. In fact, between the ages of 15 and 65, average glare recovery times increase from 1 to 9 seconds. 

Benefits of proper eye care for drivers and employers

Employee safety 

Even the most experienced occupational drivers can easily find themselves involved in accidents where eye strain, observation failure or glare has been a contributing factor. 

Vision issues tend to creep up with age, and employees themselves are sometimes unable or unwilling to admit there’s a problem. By providing a proper eye care scheme, employers take away the perceived taboo of going to get your eyesight checked — making it much easier for issues to be addressed before they escalate into major problems.

Company reputation 

On top of your employee health and safety obligations, transport providers also have wider responsibilities towards customers — and, of course, other road users. 

Your employee eyecare programme provides concrete evidence of the fact that you take these corporate responsibilities seriously. For clients, it’s further proof that their logistics burden is in safe hands. 

Smoother HR admin 

Through our user-friendly eVoucher portal, you can check at-a-glance who is due a full eye and eyesight examination as well as the results of the tests. Updating HR records has never been easier. 

Regulations and safety measures 

In the UK, there is no absolute duty for employers to provide eye tests and pay for glasses for drivers. 

However, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, there is a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, the health and safety of all staff while at work, and to ensure that others are not put at risk by employees’ work-related activities. 

So even though it’s not mandatory, it’s good practice to make it as easy as possible for workers to access eyecare, as part of your general obligation to manage workplace risks. 

For employees themselves, the general rules are as follows: 

Group 1 drivers (cars and light commercial vehicles). Drivers need to self-certify every ten to 15 years that their eyesight is up to scratch. Regular tests are required for drivers over 70.  

Group 2 drivers (buses and heavy commercial). All drivers, regardless of age are required to have an eye test every five years. 

It is legal — and, in many cases, good practice — to make it a company policy for all drivers to participate in a scheme for regular eye testing.