New eyesight law sees Sussex drivers receive immediate ban

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A number of people have had their driving licence revoked within a matter of hours after failing an eyesight test after a new law came into effect at the start of the year.

On June 5, a 66-year-old man was stopped in Eastbourne and his eyesight tested.

The legal limit is to read a number plate 20 metres away and the man could read just four metres.

Officers contacted the DVLA and his licence was immediately revoked.

An 85-year-old man was involved in a minor collision in George V Avenue, Worthing, on March 28 where he collided with a stationary vehicle.

As part of the investigation into the collision, the driver was required by police to take an eyesight test at the roadside, which he failed.

The DVLA were immediately contacted and within a matter of hours his licence was revoked.

Another driver failed to stop for a police officer at a collision also had her licence revoked at a collision on February 18.

Officers were called to a damage only collision on the A264 near Ashurst when a 65-year-old woman driving past failed to see the road closure sign and only stopped when officers shouted at her.

The new procedure - named Cassie’s Law - came into effect in January 2013 and now means drivers can be banned within hours of failing an eye test.

The law was named after a 16-year-old girl from Colchester, Cassie McCord, who was killed while standing on a pavement and struck by a car being driven by an 87-year-old man who had failed an eye test three days before.

Cassie’s mother Jackie campaigned to have licences immediately revoked and collected 45,000 signatures and so the Department for Transport worked to accelerate the process whereby a licence could be revoked by the DVLA within a matter of hours.

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas, for the Road Policing Unit, said: “This new law means that officers and the DVLA are working together to make sure that drivers’, whose eyesight does not meet requirements, are taken off the roads as soon as possible.

“Driving while not having eyesight up to scratch can put you and others in serious danger.

“Please don’t take that risk and make sure you wear glasses and contact lenses with the right prescription or get your eyes tested.

“If you suspect someone is driving while not meeting the driving eyesight requirements, please report it to police on 101.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “I welcome the introduction of this law.

“It is vital that drivers take responsibility to reduce any dangers they pose when driving on the roads of Sussex.

“Improving road safety and reducing the number of road casualties across the county is one of the priorities in the Police & Crime Plan and is the issue that residents in Sussex speak to me about the most.

“I will be working with Sussex Police and partners to ensure this is tackled and to see the prevention of tragedies such as these in the future.”

Drivers must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away in good light, wearing glasses or contact lenses if they need them.

Those who have their licences revoked may be able to get them back if they can prove to the DVLA that they have taken the necessary steps to improve their vision, by getting glasses, for example, but a licence may be permanently revoked if they are medically unfit to drive.