Show some vision - That?s the call to Queensland Transport over eye tests for elderly drivers
By JADE BILOWOL
PRESSURE is on the Queensland Government to curb danger on the roads by ensuring all Gold Coast drivers undertake eyesight tests like their NSW counterparts. Optometrists, RACQ and the Queensland Opposition have called on Queensland Transport to "show some vision" and crack down on motorists' poor eyesight by reinstating basic eye tests for all drivers when they first receive their licence as well as on licence renewal. The call follows Minister for Transport Paul Lucas' confirmation that the eyesight of Queensland drivers aged under 75 years had not been tested since December 2001. Mr Lucas played down the importance of basic eyesight tests for Queensland drivers to be tested, saying some states conducted initial eye tests but that NSW was the only state to conduct eye tests on licence renewals every one, three or five years. Optometrist Bob Bowden, who works at Laubman and Pank Optometrists, at The Pines Shopping Centre, Elanora, said Queensland legislation should be altered to ensure drivers had their eyesight tested in a bid to drive down a lack of vision on the roads. "There are a lot of undetected problems out there," Mr Bowden said. "This is one area where we could follow NSW's lead and improve it." However, Mr Bowden said more extensive eyesight testing should replace the basic eyesight chart used, which was extremely limited in the information about someone's eyesight, because it did not detect colour blindness, night vision, hazard and depth perception or peripheral vision problems. "People might have fairly good vision in the bright sun but then have adaptational problems when it gets darker and this is not shown by the chart test," Mr Bowden said. "People may not be aware of blind areas ? they may be so used to the defects their brain fills in the picture." Mr Lucas suggested that, as a minimum requirement, the Queensland Government lower the age for eyesight tests from 75 and over to 60, or conduct eyesight tests at 10-year intervals. Queensland Shadow Minister for Transport Dr Bruce Flegg labelled the Queensland Transport rule "short-sighted".