New Brain-Training Study Results Have Auto Insurance Implications

Older lady driving with passengerResults of a study that tracked six years’ worth of driving history for 908 participants showed that certain types of brain training can lead to a marked improvement in the number of at-fault motor-vehicle accidents caused by older motorists.

The authors of a paper documenting the results write that a group of older motorists who participated in a type of cognitive training showed an at-fault accident involvement rate which was half that of a separate group that received no training.

The details of the study are included in the Novemeber 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

According to a press release from Posit Science — the company holding the license to the “speed-of-processing” training program that was used in the study — the participants’ average age was 73, and the 908 drivers put in a total of more than 25.5 million miles behind the wheel over the six-year course of the study.

The authors of the paper note that more research is needed in order to pinpoint the optimal types and quantity of training that should be used.

Such technology could prove invaluable to elderly drivers as well as to car insurance providers, considering the high risk auto insurance status of this group. Although not as badly as teenagers, elderly motorists have historically been overrepresented in fatal-crash involvement statistics.

Posit Science has for some time sold software applications that implement the type of training exercises used in the study.

In 2008, Allstate insurance partnered with the brain-training provider in the launch of the InSight software program in the hopes of improving safety for drivers over 50 and extending discounts to motorists who use the program.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 31 million older licensed drivers in 2007 — 15 percent of the total licensed-driver population that year.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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