A leading road crash victims' charity has lodged a protest with government after it emerged no police action was taken after Boris Johnson's aide openly admitted to driving during lockdown to test his  "affected" vision.

A family of one road crash victim who died in a crash, has scripted a letter to UK ministers on behalf of the RoadPeace charity to tell of their shock at the developments involving Dominic Cummings.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove also appeared to admit that, in the past, he had committed similar driving indiscretions.

Police said that Mr Cummings broken lockdown rules after leaving London, but it would have been a "minor breach", say Durham Police.

HeraldScotland: Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings

But RoadPeace is angry that no action was also not taken about his driving after Mr Cummings rejected that he broke lockdown rules when he went on an hour-long round trip to Barnard Castle on public roads with his four-year-old child and wife on her 45th birthday.  He wanted to test his eyesight to see if he was fit to drive the 260 miles back to his home in London because it “seemed to have been affected” when he felt unwell with suspected coronavirus.

RoadPeace set up by Brigitte Chaudhry whose son, Mansoor was horrifically killed in October, 1990 by a van driver who she skipped a red light said police should have least have talked to Mr Cummings about his 60-mile round trip to a Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

It comes as road safety charities the Herald spoke to universally condemned Mr Cummings' 60-mile-round-trip eye test.

Durham Police sources admit that no action was taken over the driving incident.

The AA says that in 2018, uncorrected or defective eyesight contributed to 196 road crashes, three of them involving fatalities.

Victoria Lebrec, a co-ordinator with the charity said: "He was told about the lockdown breach, but that is different from a conversation about driving while by his own admission to test his [affected] vision.

"I would have hoped that a conversation included some thoughts on his driving excuse.

"I think both Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings could benefit from speaking to families whose loved ones have been killed by on the road.

HeraldScotland: Michael Gove

"What Dominic Cummings did and how senior government officials have reacted is alarming and insulting. If you have any doubt about your eye function, you should not drive.

"I was personally seriously injured in a crash when a driver didn't see me. His eyesight wasn't affected, but driving a vehicle demands full attention and functioning eyes.

"RoadPeace supports people who have been seriously injured or bereaved by road crashes. The devastation caused by a crash is sudden, traumatic, and people will often never get over it.

"The fact that Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove believe it is right and proper to test your eyes by driving shows they have no comprehension of the scale of the problem, and if they do, then they don't care.

"Five people are killed every day in Britain on the roads. Over 60 are seriously injured. The actions by government officials is an insult to them."

A letter on behalf of the charity directed to MPs by the brother of a fatal road crash victim says he was in "despair" at the comments of Mr Cummings and Gove.

"I don't think that you need to be an authority on anything at all, to know that driving if you even suspect your vision is impaired, is extremely silly and risks lives," he wrote.


"Members of RoadPeace, along with many other road safety charities, work incredible hard to highlight the need to be a responsible driver - and it seems that Mr Cummings and Mr Gove have very much undermined this message."

In his statement, Mr Cummings said: "On Sunday 12 April, 15 days after I had first displayed symptoms, I decided to return to work. My wife was very worried, particularly given my eyesight seemed to have been affected by the disease. She didn't want to risk a nearly 300-mile drive with our child, given how ill I had been.

"We agreed that we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely," he said. "We drove for roughly half an hour and ended up in the outskirts of Barnard Castle town."

"We parked by a river. My wife and I discussed the situation. We agreed that I could drive safely. We should turn around and go home.

"I felt a bit sick. We walked about 10 to 15 metres from the car to the riverbank nearby. We sat there for about 15m we had not interactions with anybody, I felt better, we returned to the car.

"An elderly gentleman walking nearby, appeared to recognise me. My wife wished him Happy Easter from a distance, but we had no other interaction. We headed home.

Sir Peter Fahy, the former chief constable of Manchester Police, that the drive to Barnard Castle was “not the way to test your eyesight and put, potentially, other people in danger.”

Lawyer David Allen Green said that Cummings’ explanation of driving to test for defective vision was “preposterous.”

Section 96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states: "If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road while his eyesight is such ... that he cannot comply with any requirement as to eyesight ... for the purposes of tests of competence to drive, he is guilty of an offence."

Dominic Cummings also is understood to have driven directly from his home in Islington, north London, to his parents’ farm on the outskirts of Durham without stopping during lockdown. This would take roughly about four hours and 40 minutes.

He said his wife was unwell when he drove 260 miles from London to Durham on March 27,  however he said he only displayed symptoms the following day.

When Michael Gove was asked if by LBC radio presenter Nick Ferrari if he would to on a 60-mile round trip to test his eyesight to return to work, the cabinet minister claimed he had done similar in the past, although he couldn’t finish his sentence.

“I have, on occasions in the past, driven with my wife in order to make sure, that err... what’s the right way of putting it?”

Mr Ferrari said he was “staggered” at this half-answer adding that he had “merely asked you if you’ve ever been on a 60-mile round trip to test your eyesight, and you said you had.”  

Brake, the road safety charity said of the issue: “Impaired driving endangers lives so if there is any doubt about your fitness to drive, you simply should not do it. Driving is a complex and dangerous task and a single lapse behind the wheel can have catastrophic consequences.

“We would hope that it is obvious to all drivers that good vision is fundamental to safe driving. If you believe that your vision may be impaired, seek professional advice and do not drive. “More than 70 people are killed or seriously injured on British roads every day, each one a preventable tragedy that causes immense suffering to those affected. Everyone who uses our roads has a responsibility to do all that they can to minimise the risk to themselves and others.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Drivers need to be able to operate their vehicles safely, stay alert and react to what is going on around them. The Highway Code states you should ‘make sure that you are fit to drive’ and ‘you must be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres’.

"This eyesight test is done at the start of the practical driving test and the individual has to correctly read a number plate on a parked vehicle. It is never conducted whilst driving."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents declined to comment.