The Road Safety Trust has announced £190k in funding for a project to advance approaches for assessing elderly drivers’ fitness to drive.
The Fit2Drive project is being delivered by The Floow, an organisation which specialises in vehicle telemetry data capture and processing.
The project seeks to repurpose technology from telematics insurance to better understand the day-to-day behaviour and fitness to drive of elderly drivers.
As the driving population aged over 60 years continues to grow, The Floow says existing testing capabilities face challenges requiring some drivers to be approved or disqualified without seeing how they drive.
It adds that existing driving assessments are costly and judge a person’s driving in a single test in unfamiliar vehicles and locations thus only partially understanding day-to-day real-world driving risk.
The project brings together a variety of partners, including clinicians (Sheffield Teaching Hospital), academics (University of Sheffield), medtech innovation experts (NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-perative) and UK testing centres (Driving Mobility).
This collaboration will undertake an ‘innovative’ telematics clinical trial, in a bid to understand both older elderly risk behaviours and how new technology could help make fitness to drive processes ‘more cost effective, fairer and safer for all’.
The project will be centred on a testbed location surrounding Sheffield City Region and will start live testing of new fitness to drive assessment approaches from January 2022.
Sam Chapman, chief innovation officer at The Floow, said: “The Fit2Drive project is unique globally in bringing together driver monitoring, clinical assessment, driver assessors, and elderly drivers themselves.
“This will help gather new knowledge of elderly drivers’ risk alongside testing for new approaches supporting improved fitness to drive assessments.
“This has strong potential to make not just elderly drivers and our roads safer but also enable safe elderly drivers to maintain freedom to drive for longer.”
The Road Safety Trust has given more than £1million to eight organisations across the UK for technology-focussed road safety projects.
Sally Lines, chief executive of Road Safety Trust said: “We really welcome the project from Floow as it has a clear link to how technology can be used to improve road safety and in turn help us work towards our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.”