A dashcam captured the terrifying moment a driver with poor eyesight drove the wrong way up a slip road - as police today issued a warning about on-the-spot eyesight tests for motorists.
The man, 87, was behind the wheel of a white Honda Jazz but failed to see the patrol car as it exited the A3 dual carriageway in Surrey.
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As the police vehicle drove down the one way slip road, he pulled out of a junction forcing the officer to slam on the brakes and steer away.
The man then pootled up the slip road as the police car reversed and gave chase stopping him before he could cause a head on collision.
When pulled over the elderly driver failed a roadside eyesight test being only able to read a number plate from 24 feet or 7.3 metres away - nearly a third under the legal limit of 65 feet.
The man handed in his driving licence and has been reported for two offences.
-> Drivers will lose license instantly for failing this roadside test
Licenses REVOKED under new eye tests
Drivers who fail a roadside eye test will have their licences instantly revoked by police as part of a crackdown on dangerous driving.
Three police forces are planning to trial the approach, which could have consequences nationwide.
Under the new campaign officers will test the vision of every motorist they stop. If they cannot read a licence plate from 20m away they will immediately be barred from driving.
Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands say officers will use the data to improve understanding of the extent of defective vision among motorists.
Sergeant Rob Heard, who represents the forces taking part in the campaign, said: “Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.”
He added that officers will be carrying out the checks “at every opportunity”.
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According to a study by insurance firm RSA, poor vision is responsible for 2,874 casualties each year and the research by the Association of Optometrists found that 35 per cent of its members had seen patients in the previous month who continued to drive despite being told their vision was below the legal standard.
Currently, drivers’ vision is checked with the 20m test when they sit the driving test but after that there are no checks to ensure their sight still meets the legal standard. The system instead relies on people self-declaring if their vision has deteriorated.
The new campaign has been backed by charities, opticians and motoring groups.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for the road safety charity Brake, said: “It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life.
“Only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads.”
Brake and Vision Express are calling for recent eyetests to become part mandatory when licences are renewed every ten years.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, added: “The human cost of driving with failing eyesight and having an accident can be immeasurable.
“Drivers mustn’t just keep their eyes on the road, they must ensure they can see what’s ahead.”
Vision Express teamed up with Red driving school earlier this year to offer free eye tests to its learners and instructors.
Red’s CEO Ian McIntosh commented: “It’s great to see local police forces tackling the issue of poor eyesight affecting road safety, and encouraging regular eye tests. Having a reduced ability to react to hazards and assess surroundings on the road is dangerous for all road users, and it’s important that there is a focus on this across all ages and experiences of driver – not just newly qualified ones.
“Regular eye tests can not only safeguard your sight, but your driving licence too.”