AAA Field Trial Results of Using Drivesharp from Posit Science

AAA of Southern California conducted a five-year field trial of Drivesharp—a program from BrainHQ that includes two visual processing exercises. (The exercises are also available under the names Double Decision and Target Tracker on BrainHQ.) The field trial involved more than 35,000 older drivers insured by AAA, and found a 30% decrease in collision claims among people who trained with Drivesharp. The insurer now offers premium discounts to drivers who complete the training.

A Bit of History

The research that led to these particular brain exercises began in the 1980s, with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to try to explain why older drivers, who were generally more careful about safety than their younger counterparts, still had more crashes per mile driven. 

The researchers discovered that improving brain speed and attention has a lot more impact on driving safety than simply re-learning and observing the rules of the road. 

On average, in every decade after your 20s, the brain slows down – typically by fractions of a second. Because it can’t process as quickly, the brain compensates by taking in less information.  The amount of information you can process visually with a glance –the “useful field of view” – typically shrinks as people age or are distracted. The brain is not only paying less attention to what is in your field of view, it also needs more time to process and react to that information.

In the 1990s, leading researchers showed that certain computerized brain exercises could engage the brain’s plasticity – the brain’s inherent ability to change and rewire – to speed up processing and make you more attentive.

Other Research Results

Over the past 20 years, numerous NIH-funded studies have published showing that these “visual speed of processing” exercises can improve driving performance, with findings of:

  • More than doubling visual speed of processing
  • Increasing reaction time to provide an additional 22 feet of stopping distance, while traveling at 55 mph
  • Reducing dangerous driving maneuvers by 36%
  • Decreasing the rate of driving cessation by 55%
  • Maintaining ability to drive, as measured across frequency, distance and challenging driving conditions
  • Cutting at-fault crash incidence nearly in half (by 48%).

The exercises used in all these studies are commercially available to the public from Posit Science as part of BrainHQ. Some insurance companies, including AAA Southern California, offer them through Drivesharp—a more limited, driving-focused program, also by Posit Science.

“Time and again, studies have shown that these visual training exercises help participants see more and see things more quickly,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, maker of the BrainHQ exercises. “Split seconds can really matter when you are traveling at 55, or even 30, miles per hour.”