Originally published in National Aging and Disability Transportation Center 09/16/2019
Thank you to AARP and their Driver Safety program for providing this blog on how innovation and technology can improve driver safety for older adult populations.
How can drivers remain confident as they age? That’s a critical question that faces drivers 50 and older.
AARP, through its 40-year-old safe-driving program, AARP Driver Safety, recently worked with eDrivingSM and its MentorSM telematics app to power a study that measured, scored, and coached the driving behavior of a select group of drivers. This new pilot study sought to determine the extent to which telematics — coupled with coaching and education provided directly through the smartphone app — can help improve driver safety in the age 50 and older population.
The study launched with more than 500 participants and used the Mentor smartphone-based app. Mentor uses smartphone sensors to track the specific driver actions proven to be most predictive of collisions. These actions include acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, and phone distraction. Mentor scores driver behavior after each trip and provides immediate feedback to the driver in the form of the FICO® Safe Driving Score, as well as specific insights and coaching related to behaviors behind the wheel.
Results were promising, in particular for drivers who were considered to be most at-risk when the pilot began. By the end of their eighth week of driving with Mentor, drivers whose FICO® Safe Driving Score initially placed them in the “Poor” or “Risky” category during their first week saw their scores improve. Their scores went up an average of 176 points on a scale that ranges from 100-850.
An improved FICO® Safe Driving Score wasn’t just limited to this group. Overall, one-third of participants saw their FICO® Safe Driving Score improve at least 25 points, and 60% of participants saw their score increase between start and finish.
Mentor’s micro-learning features were cited as one of the app’s most popular and effective features. The short interactive modules were viewed by 85% of pilot participants, with 76 % of drivers saying the modules had a positive impact on their driving behavior.
“We had high expectations for this technology, but seeing how impactful it was with 500 drivers gives me even more hope for what great things we can see with a group of 5,000 or even 500,000,” said Kyle Rakow, Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety. “The more drivers who are empowered to be safer, the safer our roads can be for everyone.”
Participant feedback collected via pre- and post-pilot surveys and in mid-pilot online focus groups was equally encouraging. More than 75% of participants believed that Mentor would allow them to confidently extend their safe-driving years. Additionally, more than two-thirds of participants said that the app “definitely” or “probably” changed their driving behavior.
“Our goal is not only to help drivers stay safe behind the wheel, but to do so for as long as possible,” Rakow said. “Mobility is critical to our well-being, especially as we age, as it keeps us connected in our community with the people and activities we love, as well as important medical appointments.”
For more information about the study, contact Matthew Samson at firstname.lastname@example.org.