RSA drop-in eye test event 27th November 2013

I attended an RSA Insurance Group event on Wednesday 27th November, and you can see my official press release below.

Jean Urquhart MSP calls on all drivers to have regular eye testsRSA and Specsavers 'Fit to Drive' road safety and eye health drop-inRSA and Specsavers 'Fit to Drive' road safety and eye health drop-in

On Wednesday 27 November Jean Urquhart MSP attended an RSA Insurance Group’s ‘Fit to Drive’ road safety and eye health drop-in eye test event in the Scottish Parliament. Supported by road safety charity Brake and Optometry Scotland and held just after National Road Safety Week, the event saw MSPs from all political parties tested to see whether they meet the UK’s minimum eye health standards.

Research shows that poor vision results in nearly 3,000[1] casualties in the UK each year. In addition to injury and loss of life, road crashes are costly for individuals, their families and the wider economy. The total cost of crashes due to poor driver vision is estimated to be £33m[2] a year.

During the event Jean Urquhart MSP found out more about how this issue affects the Highlands and Islands Region and had her eyes tested by a qualified Specsavers optometrist.

Jean Urquhart said:

“Drivers should take their responsibilities for their own and other people’s safety extremely seriously. An important part of this is making sure their eyesight meets the standards required and they wear their glasses or lenses every time they drive if they need them.

“Thousands of crashes happen every year because of poor vision, at great cost to those involved and to the economy as a whole.

“I’m glad to say that I’m fit to drive but it’s vital everyone gets their eyes tested regularly to make sure they are safe too.”

Adrian Brown, CEO of RSA UK & Western Europe, said:

“Regular testing helps maintain good eyesight and that means fewer crashes and safer roads. It’s good to see MSPs getting this message out to their constituents.

“We also want existing EU rules on driver eyesight to be properly implemented in the UK. We’re currently lagging behind many other countries and that means our roads aren’t as safe as they could be.”

Sam Watson, Chair of Optometry Scotland, said:

“Sight loss and road crashes are two major and interlinked public health challenges.  Both are also largely avoidable and an excellent first step to addressing them is to encourage regular sight tests for all drivers. We urge local authorities, the public health community and local eye health networks to work together to relay this message to drivers and the general public.”

Notes to editors

1.  With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and has the capability to write business in around 140 countries. Focusing on general insurance, RSA has around 23,000 employees and, in 2012, its net written premiums were £8.4 billion.

2. The full report, Healthy Eyes, Safer Roads is available for download from

3. The total cost of UK road accidents due to poor driver vision is estimated to be £32.9m in 2012, with the average total cost per driver involved estimated to be £16,047. This includes:

•           health care costs for casualties;

•           productivity losses for casualties;

•           costs of police time in dealing with accidents;

•           property damage due to accidents; and

•           welfare losses associated with the above.

These figures are taken from the Cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, October 2012 report, commissioned by RSA Group and written by Deloitte.

4. RSA’s Fit to Drive campaign is endorsed by Brake, the road safety charity, The Optical Confederation and Optometry Scotland.

[1] RSA Group, Cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, October 2012 (Deloitte Access Economics)

 [2] Ibid.