herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Women drivers are more likely to improve

WOMEN drivers take criticism on board and improve their driving - unlike men, new Trinity College research has found.

Engineers at TCD in collaboration with accident management company CRASH Services used black box technology to assess drivers' risky behaviour.

And they found the driving behaviour of young women improves 60pc more than that of young men when they are presented with the findings.

The study of 54 drivers was conducted by researchers in Trinity's School of Engineering.

The participants, aged from 17 to 22, had their driving assessed over a 17-week period from April to July this year.

A black box was fitted to each car and sent information on the motorists' location, speed, acceleration, deceleration and cornering to a central computer.

A programme scored driving performance based on the frequency and severity of incidents of risky driving behaviour.

Drivers were provided access to their data and were trained on how the feedback could be used to improve their behaviour at the wheel.

After training, data on driving behaviour was collected for 13 weeks, during which time the target group were encouraged to view the feedback.

Dr Ciaran Simms, assistant professor in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, said the goal was to assess the potential for using telematics technology to improve road safety among young and inexperienced drivers.

"It was interesting to observe that feedback had more impact on women drivers," he said.

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"Approximately 80pc of women drivers showed a change in their driving behaviour compared to 20pc of men, and the training also had a longer-lasting effect on women."

The cross-border study was the first of its kind here.

Dr Bidisha Ghosh, assistant professor in civil engineering at Trinity, said the results indicate that telematics technology in conjunction with driver training or the incentive of insurance discounts has the potential to help young people improve their driving behaviour.

hnews@herald.ie

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