It does not take much for a new law to have a profound impact here in the UK. As a case in point, a piece of 2013 legislation known as ‘Cassie's Law’ has resulted in the revocation of more than 600 driving licences after individuals demonstrated they could not pass a vision test. Imagine one of those drivers being a trusted worker who usually operates your company vehicles.
A licence revocation based on Cassie's Law could very easily mean your company has dodged a bullet inasmuch as your driver was taken off the road before having an accident. On the other hand, not catching a driver who really should not be behind the wheel could result in a serious accident that opens your company to liability. As the law has demonstrated, far too many drivers on the road cannot see properly.
Origins of the Law
Cassie's Law is named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who was killed in 2011. The accident that took her life was caused by an 87-year-old driver losing control of his vehicle in Essex. A post-accident investigation revealed the man had failed an eye test 10 days prior but he was still allowed to drive due to a technicality. Cassie's Law was put in place to make sure this kind of thing does not happen again.
According to The Guardian, police agencies across Britain have invoked the law 619 times since they were given broader powers in 2013. Enforcement actions have resulted in 609 driving licence revocations issued by the DVLA.
Prior to the enactment of Cassie's Law, police had no means of preventing a driver from continuing to operate a motor vehicle despite a failed eye test. In the case of the driver that killed McCord, police strongly encourage the man to stop driving yet they had no authority to immediately suspend his licence privileges. That is no longer the case. Police can now suspend a driving licence immediately; the DVLA can follow up with a revocation.
Not Necessarily Wilful
We believe it is important to point out that continuing to operate a car even with failed eyesight is not necessarily an intentional decision on the part of every driver. It is common for people to begin losing their eyesight gradually, without ever realising something is wrong. It is not until they actually have an official vision test that they realise they cannot see as well as they used to. This does not excuse actions, however.
Your company should have policies in place to make sure your drivers are not suffering from failed eyesight. HGV and PCV drivers are required to undergo annual health screenings, partly for this very reason, but drivers operating small vans or passenger vehicles are not under the same restrictions. Therefore, it is up to employers to make sure drivers remain safe.
Fleet Licence Check can assist your company by providing regular licence checking services. We have been serving our motoring customers throughout the UK for more than 20 years.
1.The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/26/cassies-law-609-drivers-lose-licence-after-tougher-police-power-on-eye-tests