The rules of the road have changed and the demographics of American drivers are evolving. The driving landscape has also changed dramatically since many American drivers received their driver’s licenses.
Everyone can benefit from a refresher course that helps drivers stay current with driving laws and new technology inside and outside of vehicles. Keeping pace with the changes helps drivers remain healthy, independent and confident when on the road.
The new AARP Smart Driver™ Course delivers on AARP’s goal to promote independence and enhance the quality of life for drivers age 50 and over.
New evidence-based research
In an effort to measure the impact of its driver safety course, AARP partnered with the Eastern Virginia Medical School to conduct a two-year research study that started in 2011.
The results demonstrated the effectiveness of AARP Driver Safety’s driving refresher course. It also highlighted areas of opportunity in which evidence-based findings could be incorporated into a refreshed driver course now known as the AARP Smart Driver Course.
AARP Smart Driver Course: the new and improved curriculum
The new and improved AARP Smart Driver Course includes evidence-based research, volunteer insight, expert input and was developed after significant field testing, focus groups and materials assessments. Designed specifically with the participant in mind, the AARP Smart Driver Participant Guidebook incorporates adult learning principles and features reader-friendly print types, full-color pages, an easy-to-follow format and supplemental course videos.
With 19 areas of customization throughout the course, volunteer instructors can also tailor the course to the needs of his or her participants by providing state-specific information that is easy to access and understand. In addition to being available in a classroom setting, the course will be available online and in both English and Spanish.
In conjunction with the AARP Smart Driver Course, AARP Driver Safety launched the Driving Resource Center in November, an interactive online resource for course participants that features tools and activities, including driving simulations, state-specific rules of the road and new vehicle technologies.
Benefits of taking the AARP Smart Driver Course
In more than 30 states, it is mandated that course participants receive an insurance discount and/or point reduction for completing an approved driving refresher course. The new AARP Smart Driver Course has been formally approved in most states, but participants are encouraged to check with their insurance agent for details about the type of discounts they can receive by taking the course.
Participants will also benefit from the following:
- Learning research-based safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of a crash
- Understanding the links between the driver, vehicle and road environment, and how this greater awareness encourages safer driving behavior
- Learning how aging, medications, alcohol and other health-related issues affect driving ability, and how to adjust driving accordingly to allow for these changes
- Learning the newest safety and other advanced features in vehicles
- Learning how to determine when it may be best not to drive (e.g., late at night, when taking certain medications, inclement weather, etc.) and how to plan for a time when driving is no longer an option.
About AARP Driver Safety
AARP Driver Safety launched in 1979 as the “55 Alive” program to help to keep older drivers independent, safe, healthy and confident while on the road. Today, AARP Driver Safety continues to meet the needs of older drivers through leading educational programs that include the AARP Smart Driver Course, CarFit, We Need to Talk and the Driving Resource Center.
The flagship AARP Smart Driver Course is the nation’s largest classroom and online driver safety course and is designed especially for drivers age 50 and older. Over 15 million participants have gone through AARP Driver Safety classroom and online courses, taught by more than 4,000 AARP Driver Safety volunteers. The courses are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
For all media inquiries, please contact Carrie Fox, 301-585-5034 or 202-255-9214.