In many parts of the world poor vision is not included in the road safety conversation. It’s Ms Gross’s goal to change that. Through her work as the Global Executive Director of the Vision Impact Institute, she has been instrumental in leading the organization’s research in India on the link between the two topics. In 2017 she established a partnership with India’s Central Road Research Institute in Delhi to study the impact of poor vision of commercial drivers on road safety, in four cities across the country.
The research is especially pertinent because more people are killed in India due to road traffic crashes than anywhere else in the world. The findings of the Assessment of Visual Limitations of Commercial Drivers in Metropolitan Cities in India study were staggering and showed that more than 30% of commercial drivers were lacking the ability to see in the distance, a necessary skill for those behind the wheel, cycling or walking in busy streets. It also showed that 29% had unacceptable depth perception, resulting in significantly more crashes when compared to those who had acceptable depth perception. This research led to the development of a commercial driver training video that has recently been endorsed by India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH).
The video is used in driver training centers across the country to educate commercial drivers on the importance of getting their eyes examined. Because research is such a critical component for advocacy efforts, it is crucial that research like this exists to prove the need for action for safer roads. In addition to her research work in India, Ms Gross also generates awareness on the topic. The organization’s work has been featured in The Times of India, ETHealthworld and The New India Express. In addition, the Vision Impact Institute regularly shares information on the topic, most recently garnering over 7.3 million impressions on social media during India’s Road Safety Week. Ms Gross has also been a featured speaker at large industry events, including the World Congress of Optometry meeting in Hyderabad, India in 2017.