If you lose your peripheral vision in both eyes, for example following an accident, can you continue to drive a car?
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have certain medical requirements that drivers need to be able to meet. In terms of vision requirements, you need to be able to pass the “number plate” test, which involves reading a number plate from 20 metres away (for an old-style number plate) or 20.5 metres away (for a new-style number plate).
The DVLA have recently started to tighten up on visual requirements for driving. In terms of peripheral vision, they will often now require you to have an eye test for this when you first apply for a driving licence. This may also be the case when you come to renew your driving licence. To be classed as safe for driving, you need to have an adequate level of vision. As well as measuring the central field of vision, peripheral vision must also be taken into account.
Under the current requirements, you need to have a peripheral field of vision of 120 degrees of the central fixation point. Because of this, you should inform the DVLA of your loss of peripheral vision, particularly as your situation involves the loss of peripheral vision in both eyes. You can be fined up to £1000 if you do not inform the DVLA, and they later determine that your loss of peripheral vision makes you unsafe to drive.
The DVLA will probably then arrange a “field of vision” test to determine the extent of your loss of peripheral vision, and whether it is significant enough to make you an unsafe driver. This is the same procedure that glaucoma sufferers must follow, as glaucoma can affect your peripheral vision. If they deem that your peripheral vision is not adequate enough, they revoke your driving licence. From a legal stance, this would make it illegal to continue driving, as it is an offence to drive without a valid driving licence.
To inform the DVLA of your loss of peripheral vision, you can download a medical questionnaire for your relevant medical condition from the Directgov website. Fill this in and send it to the DVLA. They should get back to you with advice on what happens next.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated May 2021