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Over 110,000 Drivers May Not Be Able To See Properly


12 December 2012

Over 110,000 Drivers On Our Roads May Not Be Able To See Properly

AA Survey reveals staggering number of drivers breaching their license requirements

An AA survey, in partnership with Specsavers, has found that almost one in eight people (12.9%) who are required to wear glasses or contact lenses while driving have driven without them; and of those, over 85 percent have done so more than once.

Apply those proportions to 864,000 licensed drivers required to wear corrective lenses and that equates to over 110,000 drivers on New Zealand roads who may not be able to see properly; or one in thirty Kiwi drivers in total.

The AA member survey findings released today, also reveal that almost one in five (18.6%) have found the cost of lenses or glasses a barrier to updating their prescriptions, and that ten per cent of drivers admit to night vision difficulties.

Mike Noon, AA Motoring Affairs General Manager, says the survey shows some drivers aren’t seeing as well as they could be.

“The AA is determined to help drivers be as safe as possible on the roads and hopefully these findings provide a timely reminder of the need to always wear the right prescription glasses when driving.”

“Drivers owe it to themselves, and everyone else on the road, to make sure they can see clearly before they get behind the wheel. If their vision is compromised, they pose a danger to themselves and others.”

Philip Walsh, Specsavers optometrist and Professional Services Advisor, says the survey results are concerning.

“People need to be diligent and ensure that they have their eyes tested regularly. Just as importantly, they have to ensure they actually wear their glasses when driving because they’re not much use on the bed-side table,” says Mr Walsh.

“This research shows that New Zealanders need to make their eye care a higher priority, and cost needn’t be such a big barrier given the competitive prices that some retailers now offer. Good vision is essential for road safety. If you can't see properly, then you can't drive safely,” says Mr Walsh.

Earlier in the year, Specsavers announced that AA Members would receive a free eye examination every two years. To date, 65,000 members have received the free eye examination.

The online survey of 927 AA Members has a 3.2% margin of error.



AA Members wanting to book a free eye examination should contact their local Specsavers to make an appointment. AA Members need to present their AA membership card on arrival.

A list of Specsavers stores is available online at

For more information get online at .

About AA

The New Zealand Automobile Association is an incorporated society with over one million members. It represents the interests of road users who collectively pay over $2 billion in taxes each year through fuels excise, road user charges and GST.

About Specsavers

Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned optical retailer in the world and the market leader in New Zealand. The couple still actively run the company today, along with their three children. Specsavers has more than 1,300 stores in ten countries worldwide and over 50 stores across New Zealand.


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