UK worst hit by eye ban
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by Derren Hayes • Strict new EU eyesight tests faced by British drivers this summer are being ignored by other European countries.
Thousands of British drivers' careers will be ended by the new rules, but foreign drivers with the same sight problems will be able to continue driving on British roads. This is because other European countries think the rules are too strict and are insisting on keeping grandfather rights, so those who have licences already will keep them. The Department of Transport has ruled this out for British hauliers, saying it would be unworkable. According to DOT figures the new legislation will cost 3,000 British LGV drivers' jobs as the minimum standards of eyesight are increased by 30%.
Wim Smolders, a member of the International Road Transport Union's Transport Liaison Committee to the EU, says: "There is no possibility right away to do it (include grandfather rights). It may be added into the directive later but it will take some time. Until then the Commission will view sympathetically any individual states wanting to keep current minimum standards. Everyone thinks it's a good directive but many think the minimum standards are simply too stringent and want to see them lowered."
The DOT says: "The Government is implementing the directive the way they think it should be. If other states interpret it differently it's up to them."