Does your eyesight affect your driving ability?
Cassie McCord, aged 16 was killed two years ago after she was run down by an 87 year old man, who three days ago was told by the police he was medically unfit to drive. The death prompted a campaign led by Cassie’s family urging the government to revise the current procedure involving the withdrawal of a driver’s license.
Three days before the incident, the 86 year old man attempted to drive into an exit of a petrol station which promoted the local police force to undergo an investigation. Here the 86 year old failed a police eye test and therefore was told that he is medically unfit to drive, and that his license will be withdrawn in days. However this did not stop the 86 year old from driving which sadly, three days later resulted in the death of 16 year old school girl.
The current procedure involves the police requesting by post for a license to be withdrawn. Unfortunately the DVLA did not receive the request in time before they could legally withdraw the 86 year olds license. At the moment, the police do not have the legal power to withdrawn a driving license.
Cassie’s family have collected over 45,000 signatures which were handed over to the Department for Transport for an urgent review of the current law. The new procedure, named ‘Cassie’s law’ allows the police to email the DVLA its requests which enable them to withdraw an license within hours.
Cassie’s mother, Mrs McCord from Colchester said “I am confident this is a really good solution. The fact the Department for Transport has listened to someone like me who has no power is amazing. Next week it will be two years since Cassie died. The timing could not be better”.
Drivers who now continue to driver after being told their license has been withdrawn face a fine up to £5000 or a possible six month prison sentence.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said “we have every sympathy with Mrs McCord and would like to thank her for her valuable work in raising awareness of this issue. The DVLA and the police have worked closely to greatly streamline the process for revoking a licence when the police identify that a driver’s eyesight is inadequate. The decision whether to revoke a driving licence on medical grounds remains with the DVLA, though the e process for informing drivers that their licence has been revoked has now been accelerated”.