India: Shell’s #DriveSafeIndia Program, launched in February 2019, has screened more than 2.6 lakh drivers and has been able to address vision issues of approx.1.75 lakh by providing them free pairs of spectacles. The program has also been awarded the coveted Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its outstanding contribution to Road Safety in 2019.
Despite the pandemic, Shell continued the DriveSafeIndia program in line with government regulations and safety protocols. As part of their endeavor to continue keeping Indian roads safe, Shell has now roped in another partner, the India Vision Institute (an NGO providing access to vision testing and spectacles to the underprivileged in remote parts of India), to further expand the programme and vision testing camps in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
This year’s DriveSafe India program was officially launched in Chennai ahead of World Sight Day and aims to cover an additional 1.00 lakh drivers. Of this, eye care needs of 50,000 commercial vehicle and truck drivers will be addressed in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and the remaining in other states.
Sanjay Varkey, Director, Mobility, Shell India said, “At Shell, we believe road safety is imperative for all and the #DriveSafeIndia program is a step forward in the right direction. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are among the top 3 states with the highest road accidents. We are therefore expanding our programme in these regions to reach even more drivers with the intention to improve driving performance and potentially preventing accidents”
“IVI has experience of vision screening school children and adults, including commercial vehicle drivers and truckers. “The collaboration and synergy between the two organizations should help drive a strong program to address the vision problems of the trucking community,” said IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel.
“IVI works in 22 states across India to vision screen school children and adults, including drivers and allied transport workers,” Mr. Daniel noted. “We see the #DriveSafeIndia program as a great opportunity to address the issue of road safety. Drivers with better vision will lead to fewer road accidents, fatalities, and unnecessary injuries,” he added.
Mishaps and fatalities on roads are unfortunately frequent occurrences in India. With about 151,000 on-road deaths reported each year across the country, boosting awareness on not only vehicle upkeep, but more importantly driver welfare, is an urgent imperative. A 2019 study report by the National Crime Records Bureau states that the number of road accidents reported in Tamil Nadu was 59,499, the highest among all states in India. Karnataka stood third with 40,666 cases.