Eyeglasses: not wearing them when driving could have serious consequences

The following story about a Swiss woman was reported in the magazine Schaffhauser Bock

The Swiss magazine Schaffhauser Bock recently included an article by Daniel Thuler about a 65-year-old Swiss woman who had momentarily removed her glasses (which she was required to wear) while driving her car. She was spotted by the relevant authorities and was fined for the infraction but, despite having no previous driving convictions, she has very few hopes of appealing against it.


The following is the entire article, which underscores the importance of wearing glasses, if required, when driving:


The backside of the driver's license of many people who wear glasses specifies (code 01 or 02 for licenses under the old regulation) that the driver must wear glasses or other vision enhancing device when driving a vehicle. The issue of a learner's permit is subject to an eyesight test.


"I was just about to pull over"
About six months ago, in November 2011, this was a fatal comment for Ms. O., a sixty-five-year-old from Löhningen (the name is unknown to the editorial office). "I went in my car to leave some used clothes at the drop off location in our town" she said. "There was a dusty sheet in the bin opening." So she got dust in her eyes. Subsequently, when she was driving along the main street on her way to the doctor's, her eyes began to feel itchy. "I took off my glasses and put them on the passenger seat so that I could rub my eyes", Ms. O. explained. "I was pulling over near Landi, but the police were parked there." The policemen saw that she wasn't wearing glasses and gave her a ticket. "I was extremely unlucky", Ms. O. stated. "Besides, I can see well even without glasses, I would never have been a danger to anyone."


A total of 900 francs

The legal machinery was set in motion and last June Ms. O. found in her mailbox the citation and the sentence by the District Attorney at Schaffhauser: 200 francs in state taxes on the infraction and an official warning that her license would be revoked for at least one month if the infraction was repeated. A fine of 450 francs (or imprisonment of five days) and 250 francs in state taxes on the citation. A total of 900 francs - not an insignificant sum for a 65-year-old with a minimum old-age and survivors' pension of only 1,121 francs a month. And this was despite the fact that the woman had no previous driving convictions.


No hope of an appeal
Ms. O. immediately filed an appeal by recorded mail and informed her personal legal protection insurers who looked into the case. "Unfortunately, the insurance company told me that from a legal point of view it is not possible to appeal against a criminal sentence", the woman said. "And they advised me not to go ahead with it." The letter from the insurance company included a confirmation of the receipt of the appeal by the District Attorney. "The District Attorney wrote that, given the circumstances, I could not have won legal proceedings and that I would risk having to pay the additional costs of an appeal. It appears that there is no possibility of having the case dismissed or of reducing the amount of the fine. The DA advised me to use the attached form to withdraw the appeal immediately and, as a consequence, acknowledge the sentence." Which is what she did while continuing to grind her teeth: "This communication from the District Attorney made me feel that my back was to the wall. I no longer dared to defend myself, even though I am in total disagreement about the severity of the sentence."


Car drivers be careful!
Ms. O. no longer believes that her sentence will be reduced: "What I want is to alert other drivers to the costly consequences of driving without glasses, even if you remove them momentarily to rub your eyes."