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Kent Association for the Blind

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There's no legal age at which you must stop driving. You can decide when to stop, but medical conditions can affect your driving and might mean you have to give up your driving licence until you can meet the medical standards of fitness to drive again. 

When you decide to stop driving or are advised by your doctor to stop, you'll need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and send them your licence.

If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the 'standards of vision for driving' you must wear them every time you drive. You must tell the DVLA if you have a problem with your eyesight that affects both of your eyes, or the remaining eye if you only have one eye. Although the DVLA will normally consider you to be ineligible to hold a driving licence if you're registered blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired), they will consider your fitness to drive based on the following standards.

Standard eyesight requirements

The following requirements apply to holders of licences for cars and motorcycles. It is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle on the road if you cannot meet these eyesight requirements.

Visual acuity: You must be able to read in good daylight, with the aid of glasses (or contact lenses) an old style, standard vehicle number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres (67 feet) or a new style number plate at a distance of 20 metres (65 feet) where narrower characters are displayed. New style number plates were introduced on 1 September 2001 and start with two letters, for example AB51 ABC.

This is the standard eyesight requirement for someone taking a driving test.

Field of vision: you must have a good all-round field of vision for safe driving to ensure that you are aware of approaching vehicles and other hazards. You must report to the DVLA any significant loss of field of vision when you have both eyes open. This is likely to apply to people with eye conditions where there are defects in the field of vision, including severe glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa.

Monocular vision: you must notify the DVLA if you have lost the sight in one eye. You may drive so long as:

  • you have good sight in the other eye and can meet the eyesight requirement
  • the field of vision in the other eye is normal
  • you have been advised by a doctor or eye specialist that you have had enough time to adapt to the loss of sight in one eye

Visual field defects: you must be able to meet the recommended national guidelines for visual field before you can drive. Eye conditions that may affect visual field are severe glaucoma or retinopathy in both eyes, retinitis pigmentosa and others.

Cataract: if your sight is affected by cataract or post-cataract surgery, you must be able to meet the standard eyesight requirement above. The effect of glare on your sight may mean you are not able to meet the requirement.

Night blindness: you must notify the DVLA if you are unable to meet the above standards for visual acuity and field of vision

Diplopia (double vision): you must stop driving when this is first diagnosed. You may be allowed to drive if it is confirmed to the DVLA that your diplopia is controlled by glasses, or by an eyepatch to which you have adapted and which you always wear when driving.

Colour blindness: it is not necessary to notify the DVLA of colour blindness.

Blepharospasm (involuntary blinking or closure of eyelids): you may continue to drive provided satisfactory medical reports are submitted. You must however inform the DVLA of any change in the condition.

If you drive under 4,000 miles annually, research shows that using taxis or buses is cheaper than maintaining, insuring and running a car.

Kent Karrier is a fully accessible dial-a-ride service which takes its members directly from their door to the nearest town centre. Membership is £5 per year, with a small fee payable for each journey.

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee have produced a transport and travel website for disabled people giving advice about using all forms of transport.

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