December 1, 2020
Highways Today
Anthony Davis

Research shows the best tools to improve older driver safety

A newly-published systematic review and meta-analysis identifies the training activities that have been shown to be effective in improving safety among older drivers. The researchers found that computerized brain exercise training found exclusively in BrainHQ from Posit Science had significant benefits to older drivers’ safety.

There are now more than 44 million drivers over age 65 in the United States. They are second only to newly-licensed drivers in crash rate, and drivers aged 75 and older have the highest death rate due to crashes. There are many different types of interventions deployed to assist older drivers.

The review, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, evaluated the effects of a variety of interventions on driving performance and auto crash risk. Surprisingly, many of the most commonly used types of interventions were simply not effective. In particular, classroom or web-delivered lectures on road rules or driving, in-car demonstrations that teach driver and hand positioning, simulator-based training, and on-road training had no significant effect.

The reviewers found only skill-specific interventions – including cognitive training, visual-perceptual training, and physical training – had significant impact on older driver performance.

The reviewers noted that only the speed-of-processing cognitive training significantly reduced at-fault crashes. Other studies of the BrainHQ training also were also cited.

The speed of processing training progressively challenges users to see things more quickly and with greater accuracy. Such improvements result in more reaction time and a wider field of view (as the brain processes more information at greater speed).

“Older drivers have a lot of experience – they haven’t forgotten how to drive,” said Posit Science CEO Dr. Henry Mahncke. “Giving them drivers education classes again doesn’t help much. The science shows what’s effective is training the brain to be faster and more accurate.”

Independent studies of BrainHQ have shown many positive results for older drivers, including:

  • 38% fewer dangerous driving manoeuvres, faster reaction time (equivalent to 22 feet more stopping distance at 55 mph), greater confidence driving in difficult conditions,
  • 48% fewer at-fault crashes,
  • 30% lower overall crash incidence, and maintaining safe driving later in life.

Drivers insured by AAA in many states can get Drivesharp training from BrainHQ through their insurer without charge and can receive a discount on their premium.