The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in collaboration with the Ghana Optometric Association (GOA) yesterday began a nationwide free eye screening for commercial drivers at selected terminals.
The exercise is the second phase of the Authority’s roll out of its eye test reforms which aims to enforce Regulation 29 of the Road Traffic Regulation2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180).
The Instrument requires all prospective applicants for driving licences use the services of only registered optometrists or ophthalmologists at designated facilities.
Drivers found to have certain eye defects at the screening would be referred for treatment while those given a clean bill of health could use their eye test results to renew their licenses if they expire by the end of the year.
Speaking at the Tema Station, where the first in the series of screening was held, the Public Relations Manager of the DVLA, Mr Francis Tuffour, said the exercise was to enhance quality visibility of drivers to ensure road safety.
He said since the road was the major mode of transportation, it was important to ensure that drivers had clear eyes to drive either themselves or other passengers to and fro without hindrances.
He said it was also to ensure conformity with international best practices by scrapping the practice where eye test was conducted by DVLA data entry staff who had not obtained any professional training.
Mr Tuffour said certain eye testing centres nationwide had been authorised to provide eye tests at a fee and a digital portal developed for the seamless transmission of test results in real time for licences to be issued.
He said the screening and awareness creation would be done in parts of the Greater Accra Region this week , move to Ashanti Region next week and eventually all other regions.
He encouraged drivers to take advantage of the exercise as it would save them time.
The President of GOA, Superintendent Dr Remi Ninkpe, said the medical team would check for binocular vision, colour test and glare which is difficult to see in the presence of bright light such as car headlamps at night.
These, he said, were key in driving because the decisions made by a driver depended on the sight, hence the need for all drivers to ensure that they were fit to be behind the steering wheel.
The Tema Station Welfare Chairman, Kofi Afful, commended the DVLA for the exercise as it would help speed up the licence renewal process and appealed to DVLA to bring the licence renewal service to their doorsteps.
As of midday, about 50 drivers had been screened.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR