Don’t overlook eyesight tests for drivers

The devil is often in the detail with business insurance – and eyesight tests for drivers are easy for an employer to overlook.

Keeping a register of eyesight tests and results for drivers is a must for firms who could otherwise give their insurer a get out in settling a claim for repairing a damaged vehicle after a road accident.

The point to watch is two European directives which became part of UK law in 2013.

The directive calls for a standard European Union eyesight standard for drivers in the workplace.

Under the directives two tests are required:

  • The eyesight standard – this is an easy check that asks for a driver to accurately read a registration plate from 20 metres away. If a driver fails the test, they must be sent for a full eyesight check.

If the driver wears glasses or contact lenses, they should wear them when taking the test.

  • The visual acuity check – this is a test based on reading letters from a wall chart, again with glasses or contact lenses if the driver needs them.

This check also includes a field of vision test – and employers looking for business insurance that covers driving HGVs or PSVs – buses and coaches – have to pass at a higher level than other drivers.

For instance, if a driver can pass the eyesight standard with one eye and not the other, the same driver would fail the field of vision test.

These eyesight tests should be retaken every five years from January 19, 2013.

For firms who have not benchmarked driver vision, tests should be taken as soon as possible and the date, driver name and test results kept in a register – and if those drivers step up from driving cars or vans to larger vehicles, they should be retested to make sure they still pass.

Health and safety laws make the employer liable for letting someone who fails the eyesight standard or visual acuity test drive a company vehicle.

Employers should suspend drivers who fail the tests from getting behind the wheel of company vehicles until an optician clears them to drive.

Firms employing drivers should check their business insurance cover to make sure that their eyesight testing matches their policy requirements – if they fall short any claims against the policy could be void.

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