Motorists urged to avoid driving if concerned about eyesight

With much of the high street closed since March, personal care appointments have also fallen by the wayside – and that includes trips to the optician.

However, GEM Motoring Assist has urged drivers not to let this be an excuse for getting behind the wheel with deteriorated eyesight if they feel their vision has altered for the worse.

Strained eyes? Don’t drive

The road safety organisation said anyone with even minor concerns about their eyesight needs to ‘do the responsible thing’ and avoid driving.

“Please don’t put yourself and others at risk. Instead wait to have a proper eyesight test before you get behind the wheel,” advised GEM road safety officer Neil Worth.

The comments come after the furore last week surrounding the prime minister’s aide Dominic Cummings, who sparked outrage when he admitted he had driven 26 miles to a local landmark in order to check his vision upon recovering from apparent COVID-19 symptoms.

It prompted a host of motoring groups to speak out and urge other drivers not to undertake journeys of any length as a way of ensuring accurate eyesight.

According to GEM Motoring Assist, poor vision is linked to more than 3,000 serious road accidents each year. It has long been campaigning for a stricter eye test for drivers than the current one brought in back in 1937.

This only requires motorists to read a number plate at 20 metres and does not test peripheral vision, depth perception or focus.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “None of us have had our eyes tested recently and while the majority will still be within the recommended two-year timeframe, others may not. We would implore those people and anyone who has noticed a decline in acuity during lockdown not to drive.”

Licence Bureau urges fleets to stick to COVID-19 Secure guidelines

With many fleet drivers now back at work or planning to return, one organisation has urged them and their employers to stick to government guidelines designed to protect them against the further spread of coronavirus.

Licence Bureau highlighted the recently published document Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which contains a dedicated sub-category on advice for business driving.

Dedicated tips on vehicles

The document aims to provide guidance for everyone from lorry drivers and couriers to sales reps and mobile workers on how to ensure they stay COVID-19 Secure in the weeks ahead.

It sets out eight areas of focus for both businesses and individuals, including who should go to work; social distancing and what to do when it is not possible to remain two metres from other people; and cleaning the workplace, among other key topics.

Licence Bureau’s Steve Pinchen said: “We are reinforcing the government’s very clear guidance on the subject and that is that everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. Implementation and adherence to new compliance measures is an absolute must for all fleet operators and business drivers.”

This comes after the Freight Transport Association and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport also launched their own Good Practice Guide for COVID-19.

It offers practical advice from member organisations on how business drivers can adhere to the government’s new rules at the same time as restarting their operations as normally as possible.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “This is a time when many fleet operators and drivers will be feeling apprehensive about returning to work, particularly with coronavirus still a very real threat. We would also urge everyone in the industry to read up on the regulations and keep them in mind when planning to get back to business.”

Drivers urged to check tyres post-lockdown

Many business drivers will now be returning to their vehicles and fleets after a lengthy period of lockdown, but can they be sure these cars are roadworthy?

Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist has spoken out to remind motorists that they should check their tyres carefully before making journeys once again, as any prolonged periods of inactivity could have detrimental effects on their condition.

Check all tyres carefully

The body wants fleet owners and operators, as well as members of the public, to carry out pressure checks on each main tyre and the spare to ensure they are fully inflated.

Careful inspections of the sidewalls and treads should also be completed prior to taking to the roads, GEM road safety officer Neil Worth advised.

“Correctly inflated tyres with good levels of tread allow all the other safety systems on a car to work at their most effective – vital in an emergency situation,” he added.

This simple process should take less than five minutes per vehicle, yet could make all the difference to a driver’s safety. It is also worth noting that being caught by police with a bald or defective tyre could result in a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points on the driver’s licence.

According to figures from the Department for Transport, tyre-related incidents cause around 1,000 casualties on the roads each year. However, previous Halfords research has shown 13 per cent of motorists admit to having driven with tyres below the legal tread depth.  

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Even though many cars will have been sitting idle over the past few weeks, they are still likely to be suffering wear and tear from their environment. They might also not have been fully checked before they were rested. We would reiterate GEM’s advice and hope everyone follows it before making any new journeys post-lockdown.”

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‘Strong argument’ to carry on MOT tests during lockdown

There is a ‘strong argument’ for fleets to continue MOT tests during lockdown measures, despite the six month suspension, says FleetCheck.

In response to the current measures, the government announced a six month extension of MOT tests in efforts to maximise forms of social distancing.

Peter Golding, Managing Director of FleetCheck states, “When the six-month suspension was first announced, the conventional wisdom was that the vast majority of workshops offering MOT tests would probably effectively close but many are operational”.

“With this in mind, there is a strong argument for fleets to continue with MOTs as normal; whether their vehicles are currently in use or not. Employers need to remember that they are liable for the safety of vehicle, whether it has been officially tested or not. If something goes wrong during that six month period, it is still very much their responsibility”, he added.

It is thought that there will be a testing overload towards the end of the extension period. As a result of this, fleets may end up going longer than six months without MOT testing, which could potentially lead to an increase of serious faults.

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Motorists warned ‘don’t think spring brings safer driving in the UK’

Even though the nation remains in lockdown, essential drivers up and down the country continue to carry out journeys and, while spring is now here, motorists are being urged not to let the finer weather dampen their attention to road safety.

Indeed, TrackDays.co.uk has warned that spring can be a time when considerable dangers are still to be found for drivers.

Dazzling sun and downpours 

Dan Jones, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, commented: “Motorists shouldn’t be fooled into a false sense of security just because we’re through the harsh winter months.

“In fact, spring presents its own unique driving challenges, including heavy downpours caused by the jet stream moving northwards, bringing areas of large depression, strong winds and, of course, normally plenty of rain.”

He added the fact that the sun remains quite low in the sky during the early morning and late afternoon means drivers should be equally wary of becoming dazzled, which itself can present a considerable hazard at this time of year.

As a result, all drivers should take extra care in spring, as slippery road surfaces and dazzling sunshine can mean all it takes to lose control is a momentary lapse of concentration.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Changeable weather is a key feature of spring, so while it might be sunny one moment, the next could bring heavy rain. It’s something every driver needs to be wary of whenever they take to the roads.”