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One Five Specs Wearers Dont Wear Them Behind Wheel

Monday, 23 November 2009

One third of British drivers could be on the roads with sub-standard vision.

A nationwide poll of 3,000 drivers, commissioned by Specsavers, revealed that one in three had not been for an eye examination in more than two years, as recommended by opticians. 

A further six per cent said they had not had an eye examination in the last 11 years. One in five of those who need to wear glasses behind the wheel admitted they often do not bother to put them on.

The research identified Bristol as the UK's car crash capital. Some 19 per cent or 6.5 million Brits have been involved in a car crash within the past year. But more than a third of people living in Bristol reported being involved in at least one smash, with 71 per cent having had near-misses. The city was also highest for accidents related to poor vision or not wearing glasses with 47 per cent reporting sight-related incidents. Swansea was second with 32 per cent of crashes and Belfast, Coventry and Brighton completed the top five.

Specsavers co-founder Dame Mary Perkins comments: 'This research highlights how important eyesight is to road safety, both for motorists and those around them. Peripheral and long distance vision help us spot potential dangers giving us more time to react and therefore avoid accidents.  It's essential that regular eye examinations are kept to.'

Motorists in Southampton were found to be the safest on the roads with just eight per cent being involved in a car accident, along with those from Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow.

Three quarters of people agreed that drivers should be required by law to have their sight examined regularly. This comes ahead of current EU legislation which will be translated into UK law in 2011 requiring motorists to have regular eyes examinations.

The research also has implications for insurers with 96 per cent of respondents claiming they would have frequent eye examinations if it reduced the cost of their car insurance.

Dame Mary continues: 'We welcome the new EU legislation and are pleased to see that the public realises the benefits of regular eye examinations for motorists. The new legislation is a brilliant first step in ensuring motorists have the required level of vision, however, we would also encourage a legal requirement for more regular checks and for drivers to carry a spare pair of prescription glasses in their vehicles.'


Top ten cities which have the most accidents

  • 1. Swansea
  • 2. Bristol
  • 3. Belfast
  • 4. Coventry
  • 5. Brighton
  • 6. Aberdeen
  • 7. Cambridge
  • 8. Plymouth
  • 9. London
  • 10. Cardiff


Cities which have the least number of accidents

  • 1. Southampton
  • 2. Leeds
  • 3. Sheffield
  • 4. Manchester
  • 5. Glasgow
  • 6. Oxford
  • 7. Exeter
  • 8. Birmingham
  • 9. Newcastle
  • 10. Portsmouth

- ENDS -



Specsavers notes to editors                                                                       

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,430 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.4 billion in 2009/10
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eighth year running by Reader's Digest in 2009
  • Greater than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * - nine and a half million glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2008
  • Specsavers share by volume of the total optical market (including retailers that are not opticians) is 35%. Our share of the opticians market is 38%.*
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations.
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf People. During their three year support for. Diabetes UK they raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 more than a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries


*GfK Home Audit (Dec 2008)