(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Brain fitness company Posit Science has joined with select AAA clubs and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to roll-out a new computer program designed to help seniors drive safely and extend their years behind the wheel, according to company officials attending the American Society on Aging Conference in Washington, D.C., today.
Older drivers tend to be responsible behind the wheel. However, beginning at age 65 crash risks accelerate, and when older drivers reach their mid-80s they have the highest fatal crash rates of any age group. This is due mainly to fragility, which makes surviving a crash more difficult and puts senior drivers at a greater risk to themselves, more so than others.
To date, much of the effort for older drivers has focused on how to convince them to stop driving. “In today’s society ceasing to drive equates to giving up one’s independence,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Adult children are put in a tough position having to decide between taking away the keys and fearing a harmful crash involving their elderly parents.”
Comprehensive research in the area of senior safety and mobility played a significant role in creating AAA Foundation’s relationship with Posit Science, and the development of the DriveSharp brain exercise program. The exercises train the brain to process visual information faster, expand the useful field of view and improve at divided attention.
“There have been numerous articles published in peer-reviewed journals on the benefits of this technology to older drivers,” said Kissinger. “The studies show these brain exercises improve reaction time, cut crash risk and increase driving confidence. Most people can benefit and can achieve their goal of continuing to drive and doing so more safely.”
Among the findings in studies, older drivers on average had:
- Faster reaction time – gaining 22 feet of stopping distance at 55mph
- 48 percent fewer at-fault crashes over a five year period
- 36 percent less risk of making dangerous maneuvers
- More confidence in driving under varied driving conditions
- 40 percent less risk of driving cessation
In 2009, the AAA Foundation began recommending the program. As a result, DriveSharp, with a retail price of $89, is now offered by most AAA clubs at a discount for AAA members. Visit www.drivesharpnow.com for additional product information.
This week, Posit Science announced that AAA clubs in Southern California, Michigan, Illinois and several other Midwestern states are offering the DriveSharp program without charge to older drivers insured by their affiliated insurers.
“We are excited to be working with these AAA clubs and their affiliated insurers,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science. “They are committed to getting this powerful science into the hands of people it can help as part of their broader traffic safety agenda to make the roads safer.”
Dr. Mahncke noted that the rollout has just begun and will expand over the next couple of years to AAA clubs and their insurance affiliates in other states. Offers may vary by club.
“Insurance is regulated differently in different states, so the program is going to vary a bit state to state,” said Dr. Mahncke. “In some places there will be incentives, such as premium discounts for completing the program. We think that’s great!”