How good does my eyesight need to be for me to drive?

  • Driving with uncorrected vision is an offence.
  • There are special rules about vision testing for drivers of Group 2 vehicles (heavy vehicles, including medium to large lorries and buses). Group 2 drivers must currently have a health test (including vision) at age 45.
  • In 2013, the rules changed to bring the UK into line with EU Directive 91/439/EEC. The Directive includes changes to driving licence standards for vision, diabetes and epilepsy. For example, Group 2 drivers must now ensure that any prescribed glasses do not have lenses so strong that they will affect the driver’s peripheral vision. If the strength of the glasses exceeds a power of +8 Dioptres, the DVLA cannot issue a vocational licence. (Contact lenses can be of any strength.)
  • Since 2013, Group 2 drivers must be assessed every five years, regardless of age.
  • There is no statutory right to paid time off for these tests, and reps should try to negotiate either reasonable paid time off or access to an on-site occupational health provider during working hours.
  • Experts recommend that all drivers, of any class, should have an eye test at least every two years. However, 2011 survey results from road safety charity Brake indicate that one in six drivers cannot see well enough to pass the basic test.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.