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Effort Is Underway To Measure, Improve Senior Driving Skills


Older Drivers Potentially Eligible for Auto Insurance Discount

Bloomington, Illinois.– State Farm® Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have combined forces in an effort to measure, and potentially improve, the cognitive skills of older drivers.

Researchers at UAB have devised a new way to evaluate cognitive driving skills. The 20-minute evaluation has been available at several locations around Alabama since August, 2004. Now, it is also accessible online. All State Farm customers in Alabama who are 75 and older are eligible to take the evaluation. Depending upon the results, those customers potentially receive a State Farm discount. But whether or not the customer qualifies for the discount, he or she will now be eligible to take part in a free training program designed to improve his or her cognitive driving skills.

“We’re very pleased State Farm has joined in this important research,” said UAB psychologist Karlene Ball, PhD. “We all believe cost-effective, early evaluation is the key to early intervention and consequently, safety.”

Research has shown that drivers are increasingly susceptible to accidents each year after age 75.

Participation is voluntary. The results of the evaluations are kept confidential. The program is being funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging.

“The population of drivers 75 and older is growing more rapidly than any other segment of our population,” said State Farm Vice President Agency Karen Carter. “And so we are pleased to provide discounts to some of our senior policyholders. But for some seniors, much more valuable than a discount is the knowledge that his or her cognitive driving skills have eroded and the opportunity to, at no cost, do something about that.

“State Farm has a long history of involvement with auto safety initiatives and we are pleased to be an important part of this effort to advance auto safety for all senior drivers, not just those we insure,” said Carter. “Indeed one of the great things about the insurance industry is its inherent interest in preventing losses"


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