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Number plate test is brought into sharp focus

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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The number plate test is still the benchmark many drivers use to assess their own vision.

But surprisingly, the test has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction the 1937.

However, in the 1930s there were around 1.5 million cars on the road, compared to the almost 33 million vehicles registered today. Add to that the increased speed of vehicles on the roads, as well as rising numbers of older drivers at a higher risk of their vision deteriorating.

A Government report from May this year shows that less than 10 per cent of drivers are able to recall accurately a number plate at the required test distance – and up to 40 per cent of drivers underestimate the required distance, making the task easier.

While a recent survey by insurance group Esure found that one in 12 drivers cannot read a number plate from 20m.

The number plate test's accuracy and reliability has often been questioned, and with the changes in our cars, the roads we drive on, and the significant amount of extra traffic we encounter everyday, the practice of roughly self-assessing your vision is just not adequate.

The only sure way of knowing your visual standard meets current driving legislation is by having a full eye examination by an optometrist, says Roy Walters of Walters Opticians.

There is a growing need for drivers to be made aware of their vision and for drivers of all ages to make an eye examination a part of their regular health care.

Changes to your vision can be slow and therefore go unnoticed by drivers. Many delay acting on such a change and eye conditions such as glaucoma can go unnoticed in the early stages.

Walters Opticians, the Fast, Efficient and Friendly Opticians, Hykeham Green Shopping Centre, North Hykeham, Lincoln. Call 01522 686200.

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