Posted: Mon 17th Jun 2024

Police hit back at ‘operation overkill’ criticism over driver eyesight tests

North Wales news and information

Roads policing officers have hit back after an operation to test the eyesight of drivers was heavily criticised on social media.

Last Friday, members of North Wales Police’s roads crime unit carried out a series of checks in Llandudno.

The operation saw them stop and talk to drivers, whilst asking them to undertake an eyesight test.

Checks were also done on their driver’s licence, insurance and MOT, as well as a quick physical vehicle check.

By law, drivers must be able to read a standard UK number plate from a distance of 20 metres during daylight hours.

Of the 100 plus drivers who were stopped, the majority had no issues and continued on their journey within minutes.

However, three people’s licences were immediately revoked due to serious eyesight problems.

The DVLA were immediately informed and the drivers were taken home by officers.

While police said the checks were necessary, they were dubbed by some social media users as “operation overkill”.

Comments included that police were wasting time, looking to make money and should be out catching more serious criminals instead.

Responding to the criticism in a post on Facebook, officers said: “Good eyesight is essential for safe driving, and we make no apologies in trying to reduce serious and fatal collisions in line with road safety initiatives.

“These type of operations can only be conducted like this. It’s too late following an incident. Prevention is better than cure.

“The three who had their licences revoked at the time now have to await the DVLA decision in terms of meeting the standard required.

“They cannot drive until the DVLA say so and if they do they are committing further offences.

“A number of tickets were issued for defects on vehicles, and we would like to re-iterate no tickets were issued in respect to speed, contrary to the social media belief.

“We’d also like to add – if you have the boldness to pass a marked police motorcyclist whilst on your phone or not wearing your seatbelt, then rest assured you will be stopped.

“The officers conducting the operation were not taken from normal duties that day, other officers were out on ‘normal patrol’, and the same officers conducting the operation only a few days prior had been stopping and arresting those “burglars, thieves and high risk domestic perpetrators” that people keep asking us to arrest. We don’t always publicise what we get up to.

“The operation wasn’t a money making scheme. This was, quite simply, in the interests of road safety.

“We’re sure you agree with us, being able to see is quite an important factor when driving. If this operation prevented one person from being injured or worse – killed, then we see it as a success.

“To those people who walked by making comments without looking properly or even speaking to us, including those commenting on social media, then perhaps ‘You should have gone to Specsavers’ (please note, other opticians are also available).

“Next time you see us conducting a similar operation – please do come and say hello. We’re nice people and we’ll explain to you why we are there.”

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