In Alberta, drivers are only required to take vision tests when they first get their driver’s licenses. However, safety experts stress the importance of getting regular vision tests to ensure that your eyesight is where it should be to safely operate a motor vehicle. If your eyesight isn’t as good as it once was, or if you know you need to correct your vision but prefer to squint, you’re putting yourself and other people at risk. That, in turn, can negatively impact your Alberta car insurance as well as your driving record.
By and large, it’s up to you to make sure your vision meets standards and requirements. If you’ve been having vision problems of any sort, or if you’ve experienced any changes in your eyesight, you should get your eyes tested to see if you need a corrective treatment.
Eyesight Standards for Various License Classes
Alberta has seven different classes of driver’s licenses, each of which has its own minimum eyesight standards. Here are the standards you need to meet in order to qualify for the different types of licenses:
- Class 1 (professional license for all vehicle types): 20/30 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/100.
- Class 2 (buses): 20/30 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/100.
- Class 3 (3-axle vehicles): 20/30 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/100.
- Class 4 (taxi): 20/40 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/200.
- Class 5 (standard drivers license): 20/50 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/200.
- Class 6 (motorcycle/moped): 20/50 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/200.
- Class 7 (learner’s permit): 20/50 vision with both eyes open; weaker eye no less than 20/200.
Professional licenses also require a visual field of at least 150 degrees horizontally and 20 degrees vertically above or beside a fixed point. Standard licenses require 120 degrees horizontally and 15 degrees vertically.
Individuals who have colour blindness must be able to recognize activity on traffic lights; otherwise, it has no impact on your ability to acquire or maintain any class of driver’s license.
Do You Require Testing?
Experts recommend that you get a vision test and take any recommended corrective action if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You have trouble tracking a moving focal point with your eyes
- Any type of sudden or unexpected change to your normal vision
- Red, itchy or dry eyes which do not respond to over-the-counter medications or front-line treatments
- You’ve begun having trouble reading finer print or text
- Driving and/or reading street signs during twilight or nighttime hours is stressful and difficult for you
You will also need the results of a recent eyesight test if you are applying for a new class of license. For example, if you have your license to drive a regular passenger vehicle but want to earn your credentials to drive a bus professionally, you will have to prove that your eyesight meets the standards in place for bus drivers.
Understanding Eyesight Evaluations
Here’s a simple refresher if you’re not sure what eyesight evaluations mean, using 20/20 as an example:
The first 20 represents what a person with excellent vision could see from 20 feet away; the second 20 represents what you can see with both eyes open. Thus, 20/20 vision is “perfect” vision.
If you have 20/30 vision, you can see at 20 feet what a person with perfect eyesight could see from 30 feet away. 20/40 means that you can see at 20 feet what someone with perfect eyesight could see from 40 feet, and so on.
Vision capabilities are rarely the same in both eyes. That’s the reason Alberta instituted minimum requirements for the weaker eye as well; you may have 20/40 vision with both eyes open, but if your “bad eye” is worse than 20/200, you’ll need to have it corrected to qualify for your license.
Alberta Car Insurance: Trust the Professionals at Lane’s Insurance
At Lane’s Insurance, helping our clients stay safe on the roads is our number one priority. To keep your Alberta car insurance low, we emphasize the importance of avoiding bad driving habits, including improper use of handheld devices and distracted driving. We also recommend that you have your vision tested at least once per year.
For a fast, free, no-obligation quote on your Alberta car insurance, please visit Lane’s Insurance online.