Aston expertise drives forward support for female motorists

 Goodmedia are one of Birmingham’s leading independent film and music production companies. Working in partnership with Aston University they have launched a major research project to examine whether women’s driving behaviour is influenced as they age by their fears about accident involvement, road rage and car crime.

The project has been made possible through an ESRC CASE Award. Case Awards are designed to promote collaborative research between industry and universities, and offers a company a chance to work with a University over a period of 3 years on a specific research project.

The team behind the project had identified that although older women are the fastest growing group in driver demographics, factors affecting driving in this group are traditionally under-researched, with men, especially young men receiving more research attention because of perceived problem behaviour and higher accident risk.This project aims to review factors affecting women’s driving behaviour.  The research methods used to explore driver behaviours will include focus groups, questionnaires & driving simulator studies.

The outcome of the project will be to contribute to the available data on driving behaviour, ageing and driving related crime. This data will then be used to influence political decision making and raise safety awareness and will also form the basis for future behavioural change campaigns that support the driver.  This will include an on-going range of products which will be marketed to both the general public and representative bodies who promote safe driving.

CASE Student Holly Gwyther says, ‘The education pack we're developing for women drivers will be a really useful glove box resource with safety tips, case studies and examples of effective driving behaviours, based on our own work and wider research. In the past, women have tended to be ignored in driving research, so this piece of work will add to the debate about gender differences in driving and is particularly topical given recent moves to equalise car insurance premiums between male and female drivers. It also focuses on older women motorists who are the fastest growing group of drivers and could help them to maintain their health and wellbeing by staying mobile for as long as possible".

Goodmedia director, Faye Goodman, says, ‘I am delighted that the partnership with Aston University has developed to a stage where we now have ongoing research and development to provide the relevant information to support women drivers.’

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