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Optician Calls For Change Driving Legislation

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

BRITAIN'S most trusted optician¹ is reminding motorists and the government of the importance of regular eye examinations for drivers, following an accident involving a driver with poor eye sight that killed a student.

Colin Horsfall, aged 87, ran down and killed teenager Cassie McCord on a pavement after failing an on-the-spot sight test given by a policeman just three days before. Mr Horsfall died of his injuries a month later.  Sitting in Chelmsford, coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on Miss McCord and ruled that Mr Horsfall had died as a result of the accident.

Paul Carroll, Specsavers' director of professional services, says: 'This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with Miss McCord's family and friends.

'We have worked with road safety charity Brake for a number of years and would again urge the government to support our call for compulsory eye examinations for drivers, at least every two years, and for drivers to carry a spare pair of glasses in their vehicle. If you cannot see the TV at home or read a newspaper you would automatically reach for your glasses, yet to get into your car and drive without them is apparently acceptable. It most definitely is not and we shall continue to work with Brake to prevent more unnecessary deaths on our roads.'

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, the road safety charity, says: 'It is truly horrendous to hear of lives being cut short and families suffering as a result of poor driver eyesight. Drivers need to realise the vital importance of getting their eyes tested at least every two years, even if you think your vision is fine. It's a key part of your responsibility as a driver to make sure you're not risking your own life and other people's. We are also renewing our calls for the government to introduce compulsory eyesight tests, to ensure all drivers are fit for the road and so help prevent further tragedies.'The appeal follows statistics revealing that one in five road users have never had an eye examination.2 Furthermore, recent research carried out by Brunel University and Royal Sun Alliance (RSA)³ reveals that the quality of a driver's vision has a fundamental impact on their driving performance. Drivers with poor eyesight are 62 percent more likely to stray out of their lane when driving.                                                                                   

Specsavers has campaigned throughout the past decade for legislation to be introduced to make eye examinations compulsory as part of the driving test. Working with police constabularies across the UK and national road safety charity Brake, Specsavers has toured motor shows and county shows nationwide with its Drive Safe campaign trailer to screen drivers' vision.

For more information and advice on the correct glasses to wear for driving, call 0800 068 0241 or log onto http://www.specsavers.co.uk/ to find your nearest store.






1 Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the tenth year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2011


² Statistics from Specsavers Drive Safe 2011 - approximately 1,000 drivers surveyed

³ Specsavers provided the optical knowledge and equipment required to create different conditions within the experiment conducted by Brunel University. A panel of people with 20:20 vision (6/6 in the metric system) were put through a thorough test in Brunel's driving simulator. Each person was presented with a range of tasks and hazards over a seven mile route and various aspects of their driving performance recorded. Total sample size was 2021 adults, of which 1676 drive. Fieldwork was undertaken from 21st - 23rd March 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)


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 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group was £1.36 billion for 2009/10 and is forecast to reach £1.55 billion in 2010/11.
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * - 9,700,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2009
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK *
  • 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 offers a hearing service from more than 400 locations
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. During its three-year support for Diabetes UK it raised more than £250,000 to fund various projects
  • 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. Specsavers has raised over £370,000 for the charity since 2006, with almost £245,000 going towards its work in Zambia.