The eyes are every driver’s most important asset. Over the last few years many studies were completed on the role of vision in road safety. The UK estimates 33 000 casualties occur in poor-vision related crashes. Unlike South Africa, the UK tests the acuity of a driver’s vision next to the road. If you drive with defective sight you face a £1 000 fine, demerit points and even discretionary disqualification.
While South Africa does not do more than the customary eye test when obtaining or renewing your driving license, MasterDrive has acknowledged the vital role of vision in increasing road safety. They recently joined forces with Modern Eyes Optometry to promote awareness of vision’s importance in road safety and promote eye screening.
According to the MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, companies should consider what their drivers are in control of and what poor vision could mean. “Think of a driver who is in control of a rig worth R1.5 million and a load worth another R1.5 million or more, with vision problems. The consequences could be tragic and serve a huge economic blow.
“Our vision specialist, Lauren Slade, came along to a recent training session. She noted that of 12 drivers not one of them was wearing glasses. Statistically, this was highly unlikely to be correct. A certain percentage of those drivers should be wearing glasses.”
Herbert is also encouraging the use of lenses specially designed for driving. “Where normal glasses reduce glare, sometimes they can also reduce focus on other objects on or next to the road. Zeiss DriveSafe lenses actually adjust to the natural shape of the eye and allow improved vision in both cases. I have personally used them and found them to be extremely effective,” says Herbert.