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AARP Revamps Older Driver Course

AARP Driver Safety Debuts Enhanced Version of Driving Refresher Course, Designed to Help Participants Stay Ahead of a Changing Driving Landscape

AARP Smart Driver Course can help Iowa drivers update skills and potentially save on auto insurance.

(Des Moines, IA) — AARP Driver Safety just got smarter. The AARP initiative that has helped older drivers stay safe, educated and confident behind the wheel since 1979 debuted its new AARP Smart Driver™ Course on January 1, 2014. The course is now available throughout Iowa in both a classroom setting, led by certified volunteer instructors, and online.

Why should Iowa drivers be interested in refreshing their skills? The driving landscape has changed dramatically in the past 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years, since many drivers received their driver’s licenses.

“Everyone can benefit from a refresher course that helps them stay current with the rules of the road,” said Julie E. Lee, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety. “And as the number of older drivers increase, it’s critical that we optimize the driving experience for capable older adults by helping them become more confident, knowledgeable drivers. Doing so can reduce social isolation issues and negative financial costs associated with crashes, while making the roads safer for all.”

AARP Smart Driver Course: The New & Improved Curriculum

AARP has long known the effectiveness of its driving refresher course. A recent poll showed that 97 percent of participants changed at least one key driving behavior after taking the course. But, in an effort to further validate its effectiveness and evolve the course with the changing driving landscape, AARP partnered with the Eastern Virginia Medical School to conduct a research study that started in 2011.

The results highlighted areas of opportunity in which older drivers could benefit from additional training such as: managing roundabouts, pavement markings, stop-sign compliance, and safety issues such as speeding, seatbelt and turn signal use.

In addition to learning safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of a crash, participants of the new course will learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and other health-related issues affect driving ability, and how to adjust driving accordingly to allow for these changes. The course also helps participants determine when it may not be best to drive (e.g., late at night, inclement weather, etc.) and how to plan for a time when driving is no longer an option.

In addition to research, the new AARP Smart Driver Course was developed with input from a National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel, chaired by Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT AgeLab.

Designed with the participant in mind, the AARP Smart Driver Course also incorporates adult learning principles, and the classroom course guidebook features reader-friendly print types, full-color pages, an easy-to-follow format and supplemental course videos.

With 19 areas of customization, the course is tailored to meet the needs of participants by providing Iowa-specific information that is easy to access and understand.

Benefits of Taking the AARP Smart Driver Course

In Iowa, participants may be eligible for a multi-year auto insurance discount upon course completion. Participants are encouraged to check with their insurance agent for details about the type of discounts they can receive by taking the course.

For more information or to find a course, visit or call 1-888-227-7669. The course is open to drivers of all ages, and AARP membership is not required to take the course.

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AARP Driver Safety first launched in 1979 as the “55 Alive” program to help to keep older drivers independent, safe and confident while on the road. Today, AARP Driver Safety continues to meet the needs of older drivers through leading educational programs that include the AARP Smart Driver Course, CarFit, We Need to Talk, and the Driving Resource Center. The flagship AARP Smart Driver Course is the nation’s largest classroom and online driver safety course and is designed especially for drivers age 50 and older. Over 15 million participants have gone through AARP Driver Safety classroom and online courses, taught by more than 4,000 AARP Driver Safety volunteers. The courses are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. To learn more visit or follow us @AARPdsp.


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at ​

Ann Black
AARP Iowa Associate State Director for Communications
515-707-1287 (cell)




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