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DVLA designates 126 eye testing centres

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
An eye screening exercise
An eye screening exercise

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has designated 126 centres across the country for eye testing, a prerequisite for the acquisition and renewal of driving licences.

The move forms part of reforms by the authority to enforce Regulation 29 of the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (L.I. 2180), which requires all prospective applicants for driving licences to use the services of only registered optometrists or ophthalmologists at designated facilities.

The Director of Driver Training, Testing and Licensing (DTTL) at the DVLA, Kafui Semevo, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday [June 14, 2022], said the authority had also developed a digital portal for the seamless transmission of test results in real time for licences to be issued.

He explained that the reforms were in conformity with international best practices aimed at reinforcing the authority's mandate to enhance driver quality to ensure road safety.

It would also standardise testing processes and procedures and ensure that eye tests were conducted and certified by only registered optometrists or ophthalmologists, he added.

The law

The L.I. 2180 provides that an applicant for a driving licence must submit to the licensing authority a visual assessment result certified by a registered ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Mr Semevo, however, said over the years, eye testing had been conducted by DVLA data entry staff who had not obtained any professional training or certification as qualified optometrists or ophthalmologists.

He said proper eye tests would be beneficial to people with vision problems, since they would be referred for treatment.

According to him, the first phase of the reforms, comprising applicants for categories ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘E’ licences, commenced this month, while phase two would involve the renewal and upgrading of driving licences, conversion of foreign driving licences, proficiency tests, accident reporting, as well as referral of traffic offending drivers to the authority.

"Phase two will start in three months, by which time we would have learnt useful lessons from the first phase," he added.

Fees, charges

On fees and charges, the director said prospective applicants and existing drivers would pay GHc70 and GHc50, respectively, for the eye test.

"These charges by the DVLA are 70 per cent lower than the standard fees charged at the eye clinics," he said, adding that effective systems had been put in place to ensure that no one tampered with test results.

Mr Semevo warned that any service provider who attempted to compromise the integrity of the system could easily be fished out and appropriate sanctions meted out to such people.

He further said the DVLA would introduce an online licence renewal service for applicants to enable them to upload their vision test results, saying “when we roll out fully, people will be able to do their renewals online".

Significance

The President of the Ghana Optometric Association, Dr Remi Ninkpe, described the reforms as significant, since they would help reduce road crashes.

He said road signs were colour-coated, but many people had problems distinguishing among colours, a situation which impeded driving.

"It is not surprising, sometimes, to see some drivers run through the red light. Probably they do not see that the red light is on," he said.