Ophthalmology testimony for driving may take on a variety of issues. Accident causation related to vision, visibility issues, meeting legal qualifications for driving, and the role of vision impairments are important factors that may be considered in legal cases that require ocular expert analysis for driving.
In older adults, conditions that often occur in this age group are considered for driving. Some of the most common eye conditions in this age group that may influence driving include cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Adults with significant visual impairment often restrict their driving so as to avoid driving in situations that may prove hazardous. For example, older drivers often hestitate to drive at night, or avoid driving on freeways where high speed challenged their ability to think and act quickly. Ophthalmology testimony for driving needs to analyze each case on a case by case basis.
Statistics from the National Highway and Safety Association (NHTSA) there was over 42,000 traffic fatalities in 2003. In a small number of these cases the driver’s vision may have had some influence in causation. Contrary to widespread belief, the majority of driving accidents occur during the day when visibility is usually at its best.
Visibility is not necessarily correlated with fatality rates. For example, teenage drivers tend to have the best vision and high rates of driving fatalities. Several studies have shown that drivers over the age of 85 years, whose vision may not be optimal, are at the same risk of having a motor vehicle fatality as teenage drivers. Ocular expert testimony for driving considers the age of the driver and the presence of various eye conditions.
Most states require a minimal level of vision as determined on an eye chart and also require that a driver be able to see at least 120 degrees of horizontal visual field. Many states also require a driver to be able to red, green and amber colors of a stoplight. In California, the minimum level of vision, either corrected with lenses or uncorrected, is 20/40 in at least one eye.
Ophthalmology testimony for driving takes under consideration these and many other factors factors. Each case must be individually considered and assessments made on the individual circumstances and the influence of environmental factors.