National optical retailer Vision Express and road safety charity Brake, have joined forces in a bid to make the UK’s road safer by raising awareness of and better legislating, vision problems as a major contributor to traffic accidents.

The strategic partnership will mutually benefit Vision Express’ ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign and Brake’s ‘Driving for Zero’ initiative. By working together, both organisations hope to encourage more drivers to have regular eye tests to safeguard their driving licences but more importantly, help keep Britain’s roads safer. They also plan to use their political connections to influence policy surrounding mandatory eye testing at the driving test and renewal stages.

Since November 2015’s Road Safety Week, Vision Express has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the correlation between poor vision and motoring-related accidents. Lobbying Government to display ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ signs across the UK’s highways, the national optician has also forged relationships with professional driving organisations and MPs including the Road Haulage Association, GEM Motoring Assist, Rebecca Harris MP and Barry Sheerman MP (Chair of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety (PACTS)).

At the end of 2016, Vision Express also commissioned its own independent research, that found 15% of drivers hadn’t had a sight check since reading a number plate during their driving test, which was, on average, 14 years ago and, 94% of them don’t realise they can lose 40% of their vision without noticing[1].

Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, says: “We take the issue of vision very seriously and the partnership with Brake is an important step in further cementing our dedication to reducing the number of poor-vision-related accidents on our roads.

“It is hard to comprehend that something as important as sight is so low on the road safety agenda, particularly as reports estimate five million drivers on UK roads would fail a number plate test if they had to take it again[2]. We hope by combining our efforts with Brake’s we can make drivers consider their vision and general health before getting behind the wheel.”

Brake’s ‘Driving for Zero’ initiative is a three-phased campaign concentrating on a zero-tolerance approach to driving. Its main aim is to save lives by raising awareness of three accident-inducing triggers: alcohol and drug driving; fatigued and distracted driving; and, driving with poor vision or ill-health.

Gary Rae, Campaigns Director at Brake, explains: “Studies tell us that five people are killed on UK roads each days, in largely preventable crashes. If you take being under the influence of drink or drugs, tiredness, distractions and health problems – including poor vision, out of the equation, then the number of traffic collisions each year, will massively decrease.

“Having worked with Vision Express in the past, we know the organisation puts its full weight behind campaign activity and we look forward to advancing the efforts surrounding ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ by launching the vision and ill-health phase of Driving for Zero with the company, this summer.”

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[1]Survey conducted by OnePoll, October 2016, 2,000 UK adults who hold a UK licence and regularly drive.

[2]Fit to Drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012

About Vision Express

Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision, the global leader in optical retail, operating across 44 countries and spanning 6,100 stores and online. GrandVision is committed to delivering superior, high quality and affordable eye care to more and more people around the world.

With almost 390 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best personalised optical care, style and quality. Customers can select from a wide range of frames and lenses for glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses, allowing everybody to reflect their individual personalities and lifestyles.

With prices starting from £39, the Exclusive Brands in-house collection of eyewear makes the choice at Vision Express both unique and affordable. For frames and sunglasses the styles range from iconic, retro designs to the latest in ultra-modern chic. High-quality brands to suit every style and every budget.

With over 4,000 employees, Vision Express makes a difference to the communities it operates within, and as part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, it is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charitable Partnerships and include: