Natalie Wade, aged 28, was shopping for her wedding dress with her mum when she was hit by a partially sighted driver as she walked across a pedestrian crossing. She died five days later, on Valentine’s Day 2006. The 78-year-old driver who hit Natalie had been told by medical professionals that his sight was too poor to continue driving, yet he did so unlawfully.
For the past ten years Natalie’s aunt, Reverend Brenda Gutberlet, has campaigned for a change in the law, without success. Ahead of Road Safety Week (21-27 November 2016), Brenda is joining a group of MPs to support Vision Express with an industry-leading initiative. The national optician aims to safeguard the UK’s roads by raising awareness of the importance of regular eye tests for drivers - as results from its research reveal almost one in five UK drivers haven’t had an eye test in over five years.
Brenda has since been tirelessly campaigning to put in place legislation so it is not the sole responsibility of the driver to inform the DVLA if their eyesight falls below the standard to drive. When polled by Vision Express, over half of drivers (51%) agreed with Brenda that this voluntary approach should be abolished, with 75% stating they would support legislation to make proof of a recent eye test mandatory when renewing a driving licence.
Vision Express is lobbying Government to display ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ signs across major highways during Road Safety Week. Six in ten drivers surveyed agree this would be worthwhile. Transport Scotland have pledged to display the messages on their roads for the week, yet Highways England has so far declined the proposal.