Abels & Annes

Older drivers may reduce the risk of a Chicago car accident through computer simulation

Older drivers may reduce the chances of a Chicago car accident and sharpen their driving skills using “DriveSharp,” a computer program aimed at aging motorist, the Sun-Times reported.

Motorists over the age of 65 are less likely to drive drunk or use cell phones while driving, however their risk of being involved in an accident begins to increase at age 70 and jumps sharply after the age of 80, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As we reported last month on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, Illinois law requires drivers ages 81 to 86 to be pass a driving test every two years. Beginning at age 87, drivers are required to pass an annual examination. That report came following a fatal Illinois bicycle accident involving three Chicago college students who were struck by an 86-year-old motorist.

The “DriveSharp” program has helped 78-year-old Bob Parmacek, who told the Sun-Times he wanted to take a proactive approach to remaining sharp behind the wheel.

“I live in Highland Park, and we get deer on the road every so often, and I’m able to see them much quicker than I did before,” Parmacek said. “I don’t want to give up my driving, so anything I can do, I’m all for it.”

The DriveSharp program works on the premise that cognitive skills can be sharpened with training, just as muscles can be built with lifting weights. The program, developed by Posit Science, consists of two computer games. One game involves tracking jewels hidden behind swimming fish; the other has a user locate road signs and identify cars within a circle.

Posit Science CEO Steven Aldrich told the Sun-Times that the games are designed to improve reaction time and a driver’s ability to notice things on the edge of peripheral vision. “It focuses on your divided attention, which is a key piece of driving because you have cars around you and cars behind and in front of you,” he said.

The company claims that independent research has shown improvement among older drivers who use the program, saying 10 hours of practice can cut the risk of an at-fault car accident in half.

Allstate Insurance has offered the games to 100,000 Pennsylvania drivers over the age of 55 as part of a pilot program. The insurer reported “significant improvement” in the driving of customers who used the product.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also recommends the product to members, offering it at a discount of $69, compared to the $89 retail price.

Click here to measure your accident risk through the AAA Foundation.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed in an Illinois traffic accident, the Chicago car accident attorneys and Illinois injury lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.