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Contact lenses behind the wheel – on the road without glasses

Lead paragraph: “You must wear glasses” – that’s something you won’t find on new driving licenses anymore. European driving licenses only include the so-called harmonised codes that are universally understood, also by police abroad.

Which codes do you need for driving with contact lenses? We put together an overview of the most important regulations.

The secret of harmonised codes

You won’t get far with your driving license paperwork unless you go for a proper check-up (eye test included) first. If you didn’t wear contact lenses while learning to drive, you can’t rely on the fact that the mention of your glasses in the license will be enough. There are three codes related to optical aids and each means something different:

  • 01.01 = Glasses – you are only allowed to drive while wearing glasses
  • 01.02 = Contact lenses – you can only drive while wearing contact lenses
  • 01.06 = Glasses or contact lenses – the perfect option – you can sit behind the wheel while wearing either

How to get the right code

First of all, go to see your GP or eye doctor and ask them for a confirmation stating that your vision condition can be corrected by both glasses and contact lenses. Take it to the licensing authority where they will add the corresponding code to your driving license. Without the correct code, you are not allowed to drive in your contact lenses.

Road police

Once you have either the 01.02 or the 01.06 harmonised code in your license and are not wearing glasses, the police might ask you to show them your contact lens application card. In most cases, they only have to check your eyes or see your contact lens wearer card (which you can get from your optometrist during eye check-up). If there’s no other option, you will only need a contact lens your case.

Don’t leave it up to chance – especially when it comes to accidents

In the case of an accident, an eye specialist will be called to assess the situation and compare it to the codes in the driving license. If it is proven that the driver wasn’t wearing either glasses or contacts at the time of the accident, he will be automatically considered the person responsible for the accident and insurance company will refuse to pay him any money based on violating his roadworthiness. If you have the right code, there’s no need to worry.

Happy and safe journeys.

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  • Paul

    I have minus 8 and minus 9 but use contact lenses to correct my vision,should this effect a driving licence?

    • Jessica


      As long as you are wearing contacts or glassed this should effect your
      license. You must always have the corrective lenses while you are on
      the road!



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