More than a third of optometrists have seen patients in the last month who continue to drive despite being told their vision is below the legal standard, according to a new survey.

Britain has some of the most relaxed vision requirements for drivers in Europe.

There is no mandatory eye exam apart from having to read a number plate on a parked vehicle at the start of the practical driving test.

This means a 17-year-old may continue to drive for the rest of their life with no further checks.

Seven people were killed and 63 were seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads last year when “uncorrected, defective eyesight” was a contributory factor, Department for Transport data shows.

Motorists must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they have problems with their eyesight, but their licence will continue to be renewed if they do not admit to having difficulties.

Research by the Association of Optometrists revealed that nine out of 10 of its members believe the current rules are insufficient.

A separate poll of 2,007 road users found that 30 per cent have driven despite doubting their vision was adequate.

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