If your business involves a lot of driving, whether that's a lorry on the roads or operating heavy machinery, you'd certainly be wise to consider offering free eye tests to your members of staff if their job entails duties such as these. It might also be a good idea to make it a requirement for all employees to undertake an annual eye test to ensure they're safe to carry out certain tasks.
New research from Direct Line has found that there are 13.3 million motorists who need contact lenses or glasses, but who always drive without them, which actually increases the risks of being involved in an accident by four. What's more, 37 per cent of drivers admit that they've not had an eye test in the past two years.
In 2015, 64 people were either killed or injured seriously by motorists who were driving with either defective or uncorrected eyesight. And crashes that involve drivers with bad eyesight injure almost one person a day on Britain's road networks.
Direct Line has now carried out a test on the effects of impaired eyesight on driving performance using an advanced driving simulator. A total of five drives were completed with five different levels of vision on the impairment route, designed to measure safety critical driving performance.
The results showed that when vision drops below the legal limit, it is harder to stay in line or keep a consistent speed and safe distance from the car in front. Impaired vision also hinders the ability to react to unexpected hazards, which leads to sudden braking, as well as an increased risk of either causing or being involved in an accident.
Director of motor at Direct Line, Gus Park commented: "The current driving eyesight check is a moment in time and, for many drivers, the only sight test they have had in over 20 years. You wouldn't expect the pilot flying you home or the train or bus driver on your daily commute to have poor eyesight. We would encourage a review into the current requirements for vision testing in relation to driving to ensure the safety of all road users."
What is important to note is that vision changes can take place slowly over time, so your members of staff themselves may not know that they need glasses. As such, it would make sense for you to include a yearly eye test for those employees who do have to drive for work in their contracts. There can surely be no arguments about it if you offer to pay for it either. You could also offer to subsidise the cost of glasses or contact lenses to help your members of staff pay for them if required.
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