DRIVERS should have eye tests every 10 years to prevent accidents on Bolton’s roads, according to an advanced driver.

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to make eye tests mandatory following the release of figures from Specsavers and RSA Insurance Group, which show nearly 20 per cent of people have put off visiting an optician when they noticed they had a vision problem.

Brake believes eye tests every 10 years would save the public purse £6.7 million annually by preventing crashes.

The charity wants it to be a requirement for people to have a professional test when applying for a provisional driving licence, and at least every 10 years there after — the only test in force currently is for people to be able to read a number-plate from a distance while on a driving test.

Hugh German, from Bolton and District Advanced Motorists, said: “A compulsory eye test would not get rid of the bad drivers, but it might make them do something about their bad vision.

"I am sure there are many drivers whose eyesight is not good enough.”

He said Bolton and District Advanced Motorists always ask people on the advanced driving course and those on test drives to carry out an eyesight check from 20m.

Mr German said: “Good observation is a key element of good driving and anything that improves it is a good thing.”

The figures also showed four per cent of drivers had never had their eyes tested.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a commonsense, lifesaving move. Clearly the public agrees that the government needs to act to tackle the alarming number of drivers taking a lax approach to their eyes.”

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers’ clinical spokesperson, said: “Because eyesight deteriorates gradually over time, the only way a driver can be 100 per cent certain that they remain both legal and safe is to have regular eye examinations.”

People can get free driving checks from a Bolton and District advanced trained volunteer by visiting or call Annette Gamble on 0161 7971084.