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A tenth of Swedish motorists have inadequate vision
Swedish motorists have been surveyed to understand attitudes towards driving with visual impairment and local legal requirements.
Other than for acquiring a driving licence for the first time in Sweden, there is no requirement in the country for motorists to undergo visual acuity testing, something which the majority of drivers would like to see changed, according to the results of a survey undertaken by vehicle testing organisation, Bilprovningen and Optician chain Synoptics.
It’s estimated that more than half a million, or 10%, of motorists in Sweden currently have visual impairment levels that would prevent them from obtaining a driving licence if they applied today.
Bilprovningen and Synoptics conducted a study involving a survey of 1900 motorists in early November and eyesight tests on 1000 drivers. The eyesight tests showed that 18% had such large differences between the actual and required visual acuity that they represent a direct danger on the roads and 10% had such poor eyesight that they would be refused a driving licence if they were to make a first application.
Of those surveyed, 11% said that they take eye tests every 10 years and 20% stated that they had not had an eye test since they had first received their driving licence.
The country has no legal requirement for drivers to undergo eyesight tests once they’ve obtained their licence and the survey revealed that 90% of motorists believe that this should change and that eyesight examinations should take place at licence renewal intervals. Some of those (7 out of 10) would go further and make it a requirement that motorists take eye tests every three years once they have reached 45 years old.
Having recurring eye examinations would bring Sweden in line with some other European countries. In the rest of Scandinavia, Finland requires visual acuity tests for drivers over 70 years old and Norway demands that drivers over 75 take an eye test.
Commenting on the need for monitoring visual acuity, Helene Hjertberg of Synoptics in Stockholm said, “Visual acuity gradually changes over the years and and many people don’t realise the extent of their visual difficulties. Those who have had flawless vision throughout their early lives often only resort to a pair of reading glasses as they get older without checking their distance vision.”
In conclusion, Bilprovningen’s Cecilia Blom Hesselgren told us, “Hopefully, these startling results will encourage more motorists to take responsibility for their own and others’ safety on the roads not only through vehicle inspections, but also by regularly checking their eyesight.”