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Drivers (Defective Sight)

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 27 October 1954

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54 and 55.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) if he will set up a committee of inquiry into the need for laying down a code of rules affecting motorists who need glasses for driving;

(2) if he is aware that motorists with defective sight needing glasses are driving cars without glasses and are consequently a danger to the public; and if he will take steps to have endorsed where necessary on motor driving licences any need for glasses by the holder, and to make the wearing of them compulsory while driving a car.

I am at present reviewing the question of standards of vision necessary for safe driving, following reports I have received from various expert bodies. Any question of compulsion would involve legislation.

Is the Minister aware of the great danger to the public from men driving motor cars who are half blind? Is he aware that if a man can read a figure at 25 yards he is able to get a licence? Will not the Minister have examined every man who applies for a licence and, if it is necessary for the applicant to have glasses, endorse that fact on his licence to ensure that he wears glasses when driving his car?

The difficulty is that, under the present law, if a man passes a driving test wearing glasses I have no power to compel him to wear them when driving. That is the position under the law.

Is not the Minister aware that some countries compel people who use glasses to wear them when driving?