Shell India and VisionSpring initiative wins Prince Michael road safety award

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 12 Dec 2019

A jointy initiative by Shell India and US-based VisionSpring for the 'Drive Safe India' programme to provide screening and eyeglasses to more than 350,000 commercial vehicle drivers and allied transportation workers across the country, has been awarded the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognisex outstanding achievement and innovation in the UK and across the world since 1987.

The Drive Safe India safety program has already screened the vision of 97,000 people in 40 cities and towns across India. VisionSpring is a leading international not-for-profit (NPO) social enterprise working towards accelerating the uptake of affordable eyewear among people who earn less than $4 (Rs 283) per day in emerging and frontier markets. The NPO has delivered more than 5.5 million pairs of eyeglasses, providing vision correction in 43 countries with over 385 NGO, corporate, government and health partners. 

Nitin Prasad, chairman, Shell Companies in India said: “We are honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award that recognises the significant progress we have made, and the focus we put on safety each and every day throughout our operations. Almost 75% of road fatalities in India are attributed to driver error. The #DriveSafeIndia program is a step forward in the right direction to create safer drivers across the country. The award does not belong to us alone, it belongs to every single one of the driver and transportation worker who walked into that camp and said ‘yes’ to safety and saving lives. We will continue building on the positive feedback and expand our road safety initiatives to benefit more road users.”

Congratulating the winners, Prince Michael of Kent said: "You have been judged by your peers to be amongst a unique group who are committed to improving the safety of those who travel on the world’s roads."

In the program assessment conducted by Shell India and VisionSpring amongst 385 drivers, 83 percent drivers in glasses reported ‘no difficulty’ in being able to identify moving objects such as people and animals in low light conditions, an 144 percent increase from just 34 percent drivers prior to screening. Further, 85 percent drivers shared that after getting glasses they had “no difficulty” in judging speed and distance of vehicles coming from the opposite direction, up from only 37 percent of drivers without glasses which signifies a 130 percent increase.

Ella Gudwin, CEO, VisionSpring said: “We are truly honoured to receive this award. Sometimes solutions to complicated problems like road safety are sitting, quite literally, right in front of our eyes. In this case, vision screening and eyeglasses are a simple, scalable solution that enables drivers to see hazards on the road. More importantly, we are reaching people who have never had a vision test before. In fact, 67% of participants are acquiring their very first pair of glasses through the program. Now, they can see well to stay safe.”

The partners say that after getting glasses for the first time in their lives, 76 percent of the drivers surveyed in the study articulated that driving safely and optimal job performance would be the most important results of their new clear vision. The assessment underscores the need for proactive interventions that effectively increase eyeglasses utilisation among drivers in need of vision correction.