Eye Tests: Drivers

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30 November 2017.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 12:00, 30 November 2017

If he will make it his policy to use electronic motorway signage to encourage drivers to have their eyes tested.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Highways England is responsible for operating motorways and major A roads in England. It uses electronic variable message signs primarily to advise drivers of immediate safety issues and to provide journey information for road users. The country has a very good safety record, but improvements can always be made, and drivers can do their bit by regularly ensuring that their eyes are tested and that they are fit to drive.

Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip

I wish you and all hon. Members a very happy St Andrew’s day, Mr Speaker.

Last week, which was road safety week, we had the pleasure of hosting Vision Express and the charity Brake at the House. They explained to Members how important it is to have their eyes tested, which 1.5 million car users have not done. Will the Minister follow the example of the Scottish Government, who ran an electronic motor signage pilot last week, to ensure that road conditions are safer?

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport)

We could do something very practical: we could get the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to remind drivers of the importance of good eyesight in the letter that it sends to them when their licences are renewed. We will certainly be doing that. As for the issue of road signage, too much signage poses a risk: evidence from Highways England, which consulted road users, suggests that the more of it there is, the less notice people take of it. We need to be careful about just how much signage we put on our roads, and to concentrate on the vital messages that are central to safety and good advice.