Basel police conduct vision tests of motorists
Motorists who haven’t checked their eyesight recently or who have forgotten their specs better watch out if they are driving in Basel, where police are conducting random vision tests.
Police in the northern Swiss city are using a mobile machine to check the eyesight of drivers in a bid to gather information on the number of motorists who may be driving with defective vision. Those pulled over who fail the test are required to hand in their driving permits which they can only get back once they have paid a visit to an eye doctor. Over the past year, officers have used the mobile vision device around 1,000 times following motor vehicle accidents and during routine traffic checks, the Basellendschaftliche Zeitung reported on Wednesday. To pass the test, a driver’s visual acuity must be at least 60 percent, as prescribed by Swiss law, the newspaper said.
How many accidents are caused by vision problems? “To this end there were no statistics — neither from optometrists nor from the right medical sources or other places,” Rolf Thommen, head of Basel’s traffic police is quoted as saying. Those who fail the test do not face any fines, he said. On the positive side, none of the accidents in Basel over the past year can be linked to deficient eyesight, Thommen said. And of the 1,000 people tested for vision only one percent failed, he said.
The police force plans to continue using the tests but not as a central focus of its checks. For the Christmas period, at least, more attention will be paid to alcohol tests with booze involved in around one in ten accidents in Basel