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Police have launched a crackdown to get people with poor eyesight off the road.

Any driver pulled over for an eyesight test during the campaign this month by Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands forces must be able to read a number plate 20 metres away, otherwise they will have their licence taken away immediately.

Police StopData collected from the forces will then be used to improve understanding of how poor vision can affect driving, in an attempt to improve safety on UK roads.

Hampshire road safety officer Sgt Rob Heard, who is representing the police forces involved, said:

“All of us require good vision to drive safely on our roads. Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.

“The legal limit is being able to read a number plate at 20 metres – around five car lengths. However, this is a minimum requirement, and a regular eyesight test with an optician is a must if we are going to be safe on the road.

“Offending motorists will, within an hour, have their licence revoked and face prosecution. During September, we will be carrying out 20-metre number-plate checks at every opportunity and those who fail will have their licence revoked. I hope we do not find anyone and that everyone makes sure they are safe to read the road ahead.”

Road safety charity Brake and optician chain Vision Express are providing support, and according to statistics collated by Brake, an estimated 1.5 million British driving licence holders haven’t had an eye test, while there are almost 2,900 casualties every year in traffic incidents involving drivers with defective eyesight.

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