Since 1 May 2012, new medical standards have been introduced by DVLA to comply with EU requirements for driving PSV vehicles. Particularly the eyesight requirement has been changed.
Everyone applying for – or renewing – their vocational licence from 1 May 2012 onward will have to comply with the new guideline.
Existing licence holders will only be affected if the fact that their vision is below the revised limit is discovered through medical investigations that start after the implementation date.
Until now, drivers had to demonstrate - with glasses or corrective lenses if necessary - that they could read a specific technical vision grade - 6/9 - on an optician’s eye chart. From 1 May, this grade will be slightly higher at 6/7.5.
In addition, the driver’s prescribed glasses can’t have lenses so strong that they will affect a driver’s peripheral vision.
Opticians can confirm through the usual test whether drivers can reach the new 6/7.5 requirement. They will also be able to confirm that the strength of the glasses’ prescription needed to attain this standard does not exceed +8 (dioptres).
All licence holders or applicants will be expected to have vision of 0.5 (6/12), in addition to being able to read a number plate at 20.5 meters.
DVLA is aware that not all eye charts measure the 6/7.5 vision grade, although all do measure the higher grade of 6/6 and the lower one of 6/9. Make sure that your eye doctor is aware of these new rules, as it will be in your interest to ensure that you comply with the medical requirements.
If you can read the higher grade (the 6/6 line on the chart), your eye doctor will record this and no further action will be needed. Otherwise, DVLA will need to investigate further.
Also, some drivers who claim “grandfather rights” may be affected by the requirement to have vision of 0.5 (6/12) in addition to the ability to read a number plate at 20.5 meters.
For further information please contact the DVLA Driver Call Centre - on 0300 790 6801.