Age the new growth market

It is a sad truth that as many people get older their reaction times slow, their senses are less acute and, consequently, their lives less independent.

Against this background, some will find that they are unable to keep their driving licence or have to face up to a reality of more expensive car insurance, certainly compared to what they might have paid previously.

But, at just a time when we’re facing up to the reality of an older than ever before population, technology is beginning to offer some hope to those who might otherwise lose the capacity to drive.

A team at Newcastle University has converted an electric car into a mobile research station which has navigation tools, night vision systems and intelligent speed adaptations.

As well as being able to monitor concentration and stress levels it can track eye movement and assess potential hazards in older drivers.

Phil Blythe, one of the professor’s behind the Newcastle University study, comments, "For many older people, particularly those living alone or in rural areas, driving is essential for maintaining their independence, giving them the freedom to get out and about without having to rely on others.

"And people base their whole lives around driving a car, having mobility.

"But we all have to accept that as we get older our reactions slow down and this often results in people avoiding any potentially challenging driving conditions and losing confidence in their driving skills. The result is that people stop driving before they really need to.

"What we are doing is to look at ways of keeping people driving safely for longer, which in turn boosts independence and keeps us socially connected."

All good news. And it seems that car insurance for older drivers may be about to become the next growth area of the motor insurance market. Who would have predicted that?

Photo © jessiejacobson via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence


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