A total of 63 drivers have had their driving licences revoked so far this year after failing eyesight tests at the roadside in Essex.
The immediate revocations were requested from the DVLA after the drivers failed simple eyesight tests at a distance of 20 metres and were believed to present a severe risk to other drivers and pedestrians.
A new fast-track procedure introduced by the DVLA in February 2013 gave police the power to request a driver’s licence be revoked within hours of them failing an eye sight test.
The change came exactly two years after 16-year-old Cassie McCord was hit by an 87-year-old driver who failed a police eyesight test.
The schoolgirl had been walking in Head Street on February 7, 2011 when the driver mounted the pavement and crashed into her.
Three days earlier, officers had spent two hours trying to persuade the elderly man not to drive again after he was involved in a minor collision.
However the officer had no powers to immediately suspend his licence and sadly he chose not to heed their advice.
So far this year Essex Police officers have also visited 226 drivers involved in collisions where eye sights issues may have been deemed a contributory factor. In many of these cases the driver may have failed to stop at the time of the collision. As a result of these visits, 26 drivers failed an eyesight test and either had their licence revoked or agreed to surrender it voluntarily.
In 2015, a total of 49 drivers had their licences revoked as a result of Essex Police Officers making fast-track applications to the DVLA.
Adam Pipe, Casualty Reduction Manager at Essex Police, said: “Since the fast-track procedure was introduced we have continued to use the powers successfully and develop our work around educating drivers to ensure they are fit and healthy to drive.
“This work centres not just around poor eye sight, which can affect anyone whatever their age, but also the early stages of dementia which affects quality of driving.
“We often receive calls from members of the public concerned about their elderly relatives’ safety behind the wheel and in these cases our officers will have a conversation about their circumstances and discuss the implications their health could have on their driving ability.
“Having their licence revoked can be devastating for many people as it comes with a loss of independence. Where possible we will do what we can to keep people on the roads. However we have a duty to protect these drivers as well as the thousands of other people who use the roads of Essex.
“When we do revoke a licence at the roadside our officers do all that they can to safeguard the driver’s welfare. This often involves giving them a lift home and speaking to their family and friends to ensure they are aware of the situation and are able to support the driver.
“Working with elderly drivers is just part of the engagement, enforcement and education work we do in an effort to change the behaviour of road users of all ages, whether they are a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian.”
Anyone concerned about a friend or relative’s ability to drive safely as a result of eye sight or health concerns, can contact the Casualty Reduction Unit by calling 101 or emailing email@example.com