Blatant Rentseeking We Can All See Coming A Mile Off!

A man seriously hurt in a car accident involving a driver with poor eyesight is urging compulsory eye tests for all motorists.

Oh? When?

Gareth Gault, 42, of the Grove, Southend, is backing a national campaign to force drivers to be tested before they are allowed a licence.

Right. OK, well, we already (sort of) do that. You have to read a number plate at the prescribed distance, and – presumably – if you hit something while on the test because you didn’t see it, you won’t get your license!

But, I’m guessing he means something more formal?

So, when did this accident hap…


Mr Gault was hit, at the age of seven

So, 35 years ago? And he’s the poster child for this campaign now?

… by a car driven by a motorist wearing an eyepatch.He ended up being dragged 150 yards along the road by the car, and spent eight months in hospital.

He said: “Once I left hospital, I was wheelchair-bound and then forced to walk around with callipers and crutches before I was finally able to walk again unaided, aged 15. It was a traumatic time for me.

“Another side-effect is the fact I developed early-onset arthritis in my early twenties, because of the crash. The accident is still causing me trouble now.”

OK, but I’d have thought any campaign worth its salt would have found a more recent test case.

Just who is running this campaign, anyway?

Laser eye corrective surgery company Ultralase and motoring charity Brake are running a national petition, calling for a change to the law.

Ah. The very people who’d benefit from more business as a result of changes to the law, in cahoots with a single-issue pressure group. Great!

In July, Dr Aloke Basu, of Burges Road, Thorpe Bay, was jailed for two years after being convicted of killing 74-year-old Shirley Watkins through dangerous driving as a result of poor eyesight.The 66-year-old GP was suffering from cataracts in both eyes, chronic glaucoma and short-sightedness.

And, as is pointed out in comments, had already ignored all advice and so wouldn’t have been affected by Brake’s demands for a rolling ‘every ten years’ recertification anyway:

Jack0 says…Last I heard you had to read a registration plate at 20m to pass the driving test so a test already exists. No surprise that companies in the eye care business would want more tests, they would benefit from the extra custom. Eye tests would have to be repeated at regular intervals to be effective. Forcing people with perfectly good vision to have expensive eye tests just because they are drivers is ludicrous. In the case of the two examples given such rules would have made no difference because they were obviously undergoing treatment and had had eyetests. The law already requires people to wear glasses if they need them to see well enough to drive. The problem is enforcing the law. Whenever the police take a Breathalyzer test at the scene of an accident or when motorists are stopped for speeding they should also routinely repeat the registration plate eye test, with the driver wearing glasses only if he was doing so while driving. They should have the power to impose penalties if it cant be done. That would be a more effective measure.

That bears more chance of

a) Succeeding as a policy and
b) Actually preventing future accidents.

Except, of course, that the police aren’t medically qualified to make this decision. And it’d be abused. But even with those caveats, it’s still a slightly better idea than this one!

Brake and the Ultralase mob can – frankly – do one.

2 comments for “Blatant Rentseeking We Can All See Coming A Mile Off!

  1. February 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

    In France contact lens wearering drivers are required to carry a pair of glasses. Maybe this lot would like that too, and of course prescription sunglasses for those bright days.

    • February 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Probably best not to give them ideas! And the police another reason to pull drivers over…

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