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2000 More Drivers Have Glasses Under New Regime

June 16 1999

Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister of Transport


More than 2000 drivers have returned from optometrists to complete their driver licence applications with glasses since the new regime took effect on May 3, Transport Minister Maurice Williamson announced today.

"These are people who would have been driving with impaired vision under the old system, but since the changes their sight is being corrected to the benefit of themselves and other road users," said Mr Williamson.

"This is another major road safety benefit of the new system because if you can't see properly, you cant drive, but it's great to see so many people able to get behind a wheel once the problem has been corrected."

Mr Williamson said that under the old system, eyes were not checked between the ages of 15 and 71, which was ample time for sight to deteriorate and drivers to endanger both themselves and others.

Drivers who fail an initial eye screen check at their licensing agent are referred to an optometrist for a full eye examination.

"It's important to remember that if the screening detects any chance of a sight problem, the applicant will be referred to an optometrist. Figures have shown that 93 percent of people are passing this initial check, with the remaining seven percent being referred," said Mr Williamson.

"Although some are later passing the full eye examination, the screen check is a cost effective way of getting as many people through as cheaply as possible."

"The process is similar to breast screening procedures where patients are referred on if there is any possibility of a problem. It's far better this way than everyone being referred on for a full examination, regardless of whether there may be a problem or not.

"We believe drivers must prove they have adequate vision to drive and this system is the most cost effective way of achieving this."


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