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Eyesight and Fitness to Drive

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Department of Infrastructure has issued a reminder that the Driving Licence legislation relating to fitness to drive applies to everyone, not just the elderly. One important aspect is eyesight and the ability to read a number plate at the required distance ie 20.5 metres (67 feet) for figures 79.4mm high (3 1/8”). All drivers also have a legal responsibility to inform the Licensing Office and insurance provider of any eyesight condition or medical condition that may affect driving.

All drivers should have regular eyesight checks and when doing so should ask the optometrist if they meet driving standards. If glasses or contact lenses are required for driving purposes, they should use them.

Isle of Man driving licences are issued for a maximum period of 10 years and at every renewal an eyesight and medical fitness declaration must be completed.

When a person reaches the age of 66 the term of the licence is gradually reduced until the age of 72 is reached and thereafter a driving licence must be renewed every 3 years. The purpose of more frequent renewals for drivers over the age of 72 is to allow eyesight and medical fitness to be reviewed if necessary.

The Licensing Office follow up over 500 medical fitness declarations per year and have recently produced a leaflet 'A guide for drivers with a medical conditions' which is available at the Highways Reception, Sea Terminal Building, Douglas.

Mr Leonard Singer MHK, Member for Highways said

'Whilst the Department is considering making an eyesight check mandatory at each driving licence renewal from the age of 70 in the future, at present it is satisfied that the current approach is effective although the system necessarily relies to a degree on the honest declaration by drivers. Mis-representation of a serious condition could have severe consequences for drivers and third parties and I would ask all drivers to remain aware of this when making any declaration in regard to their eyesight or other medical conditions and also inform the Licensing Office and their insurer if a condition develops after making the original declaration.'

For further information about medical fitness to drive please contact the Licensing Office, Sea Terminal Building, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 2RF Tel +44 1624 686837 or email

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