The director of a Spalding haulage firm is advising professional drivers to make time for an eye test, this Road Safety Week, after a recent overdue check-up detected deterioration of sight in his left eye.
Alan Oliver (59) has been a truck driver for over 30 years. Three years ago he established Transporta UK and Advatec International, a pan-European car transporter business with a growing fleet.
Due to work commitments and limited personal time, Alan, a glasses-wearer, admitted to putting off his eye test.
He explains: “As a truck driver you can spend months at a time away from home, so when you finally get back there’s lots of personal admin to catch up. For many of my drivers on long haulage trips, even taking a day off for an appointment can be tricky.
“I could tell my eyesight was getting worse, but I found it difficult to be able to commit to the time for an eye test and when I’m in the truck, I’m limited to where I can park. That meant it was probably four years between check-ups.”
As part of its ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign, Vision Express has teamed up with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), reaching out to professional drivers in a bid to make the UK’s roads safer.
Vision Express has rolled out its Vision Van – a high tech mobile unit – to tour the UK during Road Safety Week, offering drivers free eye tests.
Alan thinks for time-poor and parking-limited truck drivers, the Vision Van is a great idea: “It’s only because I’m more office based now that I could fit in an eye test at Vision Express Spalding, but many professional drivers don’t have that flexibility.
“The Vision Van provides the opportune time for those having their hourly break to pop in and have a quick check-up.”
Alan thinks the Vision Express collaboration with the RHA is a positive step, encouraging drivers to think more about their eye health.
The ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign follows research from charity Brake, which co-ordinates Road Safety Week, showing that one-in-four drivers had not had their vision checked in two years. In the poll a further four per cent – the equivalent to more than 1.5 million UK drivers – confessed to never having their eyes tested.
Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, said: “With 50 per cent of sight loss preventable, we’re calling on drivers to have an eye test and protect their vision – and their licence – for life.
“It’s worrying that for most of us, the only mandatory vision check is when we read a registration plate from 20 metres as part of our driving test.
“As Cassie’s Law has given authorities greater powers to revoke driving licences due to concerns about standards of vision, it’s never been more important to know that your sight is up to scratch.”
RHA CEO Richard Burnett commented: “Professional drivers spend many hours behind the wheel, so it’s in their own best interests to do all they can to make sure their sight meets the legal standard – not only for their health, but also for their livelihood.
“Working with Vision Express is a natural fit. The average age of a driver is around 55; a time in their lives when sight can deteriorate, but they’re also likely to be affected by health conditions such as stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol, which we understand can be detected via an eye test. It’s a valuable collaboration for our members.”
During Road Safety Week, which runs up to and including Sunday, drivers will be offered a free eye test via an online voucher which can be redeemed at any of Vision Express’ 390-plus UK stores.
It is available at www.visionexpress.com/road-safety-week/ and can be downloaded until 5pm on Monday and redeemed until Thursday, December 31.
The Vision Van journey can be followed via the hashtag #EyeTestsSaveLives To find out more about the #VisionVan during Road Safety Week visit www.visionexpress.com/road-safety-week