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More women than men take on feedback to become better drivers

Black box technology gave feedback back to drivers on their driving habits.

Image: Shutterstock

IT’S A QUESTION that has divided the sexes – who are the better drivers, women or men?

While we may never have a definitive answer for this, one study shows that when it comes to taking on feedback about driving behaviour, women are far more likely to change their driving habits than men when something has been brought to their attention.

Black box 

The road safety study conducted by engineers at Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with CRASH Services used the latest ‘black box’ technology to provide driver feedback.

The cross border road safety research involving 54 drivers is the first study of its kind in Ireland to assess the potential for using telematics technology to improve road safety among young and inexperienced drivers.

The drivers, all aged between 17 and 22, had their driving assessed over a 17-week period from April to July 2014.

A black box device was fitted to each car which sent information on the motorists’ location, speed, acceleration, deceleration and cornering to a central computer. The driver’s driving performance was based on the frequency and severity of incidents of risky driving behaviour.

Improvements

Drivers in the target group were given access to their driving data and were trained on the use of the telematics product and how the feedback could be used to improve their driving behaviour.

Data from their driving was collected for 13 weeks in total. During this period drivers in the target group were encouraged to view the feedback on their driving.

Approximately 80% of women drivers showed a change in their driving behaviour compared to just 20% of men. The study also showed that the training also had a longer lasting effect on women.

Dr Ciaran Simms, Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and Director of Teaching and Learning in Trinity’s School of Engineering said:

This preliminary study is an important step in understanding the potential for using technology to help young, inexperienced drivers reduce road risk. It was interesting to observe that feedback had more impact on women drivers.

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