What is the required standard of vision for driving?

A brief guide to checking you are safe to drive

As we get older and as our eyes and visual system changes, it is wise to consider the quality of our eyesight and whether it meets the required vision standards for driving safely. On this page we provide some advice to help you stay safe on the road and within the legal requirements and guidelines provided by the DVLA.
As your local opticians we are also able to provide expert advice, assessments and specialised eye tests to check that your eyesight and vision correction, such as prescription glasses, sunglasses or contact lenses  are appropriate for your personal requirements.

Eyewear for driving

Standards Of Vision For Driving

Group 1 – Cars & Motorcycles

The new vision standards for all drivers (car and motorcycle) include:
  • Reading a number plate from 20 metres.
  • Having a binocular visual acuity of 6/12 (on the letter chart), with corrective lenses (spectacles or contact lenses) if required. This can be using both eyes together or, if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye.
  • You must not suffer from double vision
  • Visual field: You must have a normal field of vision in at least one eye (your optician can test this)
    • The present standard of a total field width of 120 degrees remains but in addition, there will need to be a field of at least 50 degrees on each side (see below for more information).
The DVLA has further stipulated that if a driver has been advised by their doctor or optometrist that they cannot meet the required 6/12 with corrective lenses they must inform the DVLA.

Eyewear for driving

Standards Of Vision For Driving

Group 2 – Lorry & Bus Drivers

The new vision standards for all drivers (lorry and bus drivers) include:
  • Applicants and license holders must have a visual acuity, using corrective lenses (spectacles or contact lenses) if necessary, of at least 6/7.5 in the better eye and at least 6/12 in the other eye.
  • If corrective lenses are worn, an uncorrected acuity in each eye of at least 3/60 is needed. Where glasses are worn to meet the minimum standard for driving, they should have a corrective power of no more than plus eight (+8) dioptres.
All Group 2 drivers must also meet all the Group 1 visual acuity standards as outlined above.

Visual Field Requirements for Group 1 & 2 Drivers

The DVLA may require you to have a special test to measure the extent and completeness of your peripheral (side) field of view if you have told them about any eye or medical condition that may affect your safeness to drive.

The Estermann Visual Field Test is usually carried out wearing your normal driving prescription glasses and with both eyes open. The test normally takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and consists of the person responding to small flashes of light by pressing a button whilst looking straight ahead.

The results are usually known immediately and can give a strong indicator to the safety of an individual to continue or resume driving. The test is simple to do and is available for any driver who wants to ensure their safety when driving.

If you would like to book appointment to check your binocular visual fields, then please call us on 020 8363 3578.

Eye tests for driving