Fleet managers: Why checking your driver’s eyesight is good for business

Ensuring your drivers are fit for purpose and visually up to scratch is not only a fleet manager’s duty of care but will result in fewer incidents, mitigate risk and can have a positive impact on insurance premiums. In this article we will cover the reasons why it is so important and how your business can benefit.

Why is regularly checking eyesight so important?

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) recently researched the number of UK motorists who do not wear the correct eyewear whilst driving. The results were staggering, with approximately 13 million people having insufficient vision whilst behind the wheel and further research performed by RSA insurance found that this lack of vision contributes to nearly 3000 incidents on the road every year, costing taxpayers over £30 million.

The Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) found that private drivers are 30-40% less likely to be involved in a collision than business drivers and that the largest cause of work-related deaths is road traffic incidents with over 800 people killed every year.

These shocking statistics should be motivation enough for fleet managers to actively enforce regular employee eye checks and ensure employees use the correct eyewear whilst driving.

How frequently should you check eyesight?

In 2010, Specsavers researched and presented a report that showed that 30% of individuals at work have substandard vision and their retail development director Mark Raines pointed out that the ones most at risk from deteriorated vision and may not even notice is the over 40’s stating “A loss of vision can creep up on people.”

In 2011 the EU passed legislation calling for all commercial drivers to get their eyesight checked every 5 years, whilst the NHS recommends it to be done every 2 years. A lot can happen in this time so make sure your employees can read a pre-2001 number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres, and if they can’t, ensure they wear their corrective lenses/glasses or they could face a £1000 and three penalty points.

Simon Marsh, Managing Director of FleetsCompare suggests the following:

“To avoid being part of these growing statistics, it is always important to plan ahead, so every a year, when your business is least busy, arrange eye exams for your employees. If incidents do occur, re-check that employees eyesight and always keep everyone up to date with your eye testing protocols. Better eyesight and implementing and demonstrating eyesight procedures to your insurer will result in both fewer incidents and lower insurance premiums.”