Thanks to a collaboration between Vision Express and the Road Haulage Association (RHA), drivers have been encouraged to MOT their sight and make UK roads safer. During Road Safety Week (23-29 November), Vision Express gave free eye tests to motorists and HGV drivers at service stations along five of the UK’s busiest roads.
The campaign ‘EyeTestsSaveLives’, launched following research from road safety charity Brake showing that 1 in 4 drivers are risking their licence by not having regular eye tests.
During the awareness week, Vision Express offered free sight tests, via a downloadable voucher on its website. From its ‘Vision Van’, it also gave comprehensive 30-minute eye examinations to drivers at five UK service stations and truck stops. Of those examined on the high tech mobile eye testing unit, one in five were referred to their GPs for further tests, while 72% needed a new prescription.
Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson commented: “Five million drivers (14%) acknowledge driving with less than perfect vision and road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year. With these statistics in mind, we wanted to launch a campaign targeted at motorists, including those who drive professionally, to encourage them to take their eye health seriously.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive impact of the campaign. Our Vision Van was extremely well attended at the service station and truck stops, with many professional drivers commenting on how convenient the Vision Van was for them. Our collaboration with the RHA has now officially launched too - allowing its members to access discounted vision care services and products, to safeguard both their sight and livelihoods.”
CEO for the RHA, Richard Burnett, commented: “Working with Vision Express is already proving to be a real success with many of our members having their eyes tested at the ‘Vision Van’ over Road Safety Week or opting to have one soon.
“We hope that by raising the importance of keeping a good eye health routine, that many more of our members will have that important check-up they may have been putting off.”
Joining the campaign to rally support, was British racing champion Tom Ingram. Although at 22, The RHA-sponsored British Touring Car Championship driver Tom has no need for vision correction, as a professional racing driver who is also a qualified HGV driver, he fully understands the importance of regular sight testing.
“If my eyesight isn’t up to scratch then I can’t do my job”, says Tom. “Although I don’t need to wear glasses right now, I know the importance of having regular eye tests. It’s good to know that if a problem is identified early, it could be treated quickly and effectively.”
The Vision Van visited five services stations in England identified for their proximately to dangerous and busy roads, offering a comprehensive free eye test by a Vision Express expert optometrist. It journeyed to M25 South Mimms Welcome Break truck stop, Eddie Stobart Rugby depot, M62 Burtonwood Welcome Break services, Washington Moto Services in Birtley, Tyne and Wear, and M1 Leicester Forest East Welcome Break services.
Peter Mitchell, an Eddie Stobart driver who relies on driving for his livelihood, visited the Vision Van whilst it was at the Rugby Depot. His eye test showed that he needed reading glasses.
He said: “I recently bought a watch and have struggled seeing the hands on it- so when I saw the van with free eye tests, I thought I’d get my eyes tested. I’m so glad I came. I wish I hadn’t put it off for so long and would urge all drivers to have regular eye tests, just for their own safety and for the safety of others.”
Production manager Tom Sawyer, 35, from Kent took advantage of the free eye test offer on the Van, whilst it was at the Forest East services in Leicester. Tom had never had an eye test before. He said: “I think it’s important to have an eye test because you can tell a lot about your health and not just your vision. I need to look after my eyes so they last me into old age.
“I’ve never had any problems with my vision, so it never crossed my mind to have an eye test before. I’ve now been referred to my GP to ensure there aren’t any underlying problems because I have a freckle on the back of my eye. I’m really glad I popped in.”
In Scotland the initiative also saw drivers on major routes across the country reminded about the importance of an eye test. Thanks to a green light from Transport Scotland, the message ‘Are your eyes fit for driving?’ was re-introduced on Scotland’s Trunk road network from 23 -29 November 2015.
The 2014 Driver Eyesight Survey by Brake found:
Five million drivers (14%) acknowledge driving with less than perfect vision
Crash risk is proven to be heightened by poor vision
Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year
One in five drivers has avoided visiting an optician, even when they’ve noticed a problem with their vision
One in eight admitted to driving without their glasses or lenses in the past 12 months.
About Vision Express
Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating across 43 countries, spanning over 5,800 stores and online.
With more than 390 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.
Vision Express is considered one of the leading and most trusted opticians in the UK and Ireland, with its European offering supported through sister eye care brands Grand Optical, Solaris and Generale D'Optique.
With around 4,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:
- Alzheimer’s Research UK
- Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
- International Glaucoma Association
- Macular Society
- Stroke Association
- Temple Street University Hospital.