Innovation That Matters

Using video games to make seniors safer drivers

Publishing & Media

We’ve written about brain gyms for baby boomers and insurance discounts for drivers of cars with GPS devices. Combining a bit of both ideas, insurance provider Allstate recently announced a pilot program that could ultimately lead to reduced insurance rates for senior drivers who play brain-building video games. Beginning in Pennsylvania–home to the fifth largest population of Allstate customers aged 50 to 75, the company says–Allstate is offering the program free to more than 100,000 drivers in that age group to test the impact of cognitive training on driving safety. The program uses InSight, a video software package from Posit Science that’s designed to reverse age-related cognitive decline and improve the visual-processing skills needed for safe driving. Five games make up InSight, including Jewel Diver, which tests the ability to keep track of multiple moving objects at one time. Among the results of using the software, Posit says, are a reduction of dangerous driving manoeuvres by up to 40 percent, an improvement in stopping distance by an average of 22 feet when travelling at 55 miles per hour and a reduction in crash risk of up to 50 percent. In the Pennsylvania tests, which will run through March, Allstate will encourage participating older drivers to devote at least 10 hours to the training exercises. It will then track accident rates for the groups that did and didn’t use the software. If the results validate Posit Science’s claims, Allstate says it hopes to offer discounts to older drivers nationwide who use the software. As the aging of the baby boom generation leads to increased numbers of older drivers on the road, using brain exercises to improve safety makes good sense. Of course, the program could also help Allstate identify and reward its safest–and therefore most profitable–customers. Sounds like a win-win proposition for other insurers to watch–and emulate! Spotted by: PSFK via Matthew Cua



Download PDF