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Shepherd Center Releases AutoCoach 2.0 App

Popular mobile app adds content for parents of teen drivers with disabilities.

Shepherd Center recently released AutoCoach 2.0. AutoCoach 2.0 is enhanced with a specific curriculum for parents who are training their teen drivers who have certain physical and/or cognitive disabilities. AutoCoach 2.0 is funded by a $100,000 grant from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and created in partnership with IT management consulting firm CapTech.

AutoCoach 2.0, which is available as a free download in the Apple App and Google Play stores, is customizable to provide expert guidance on how to teach new drivers with disabilities. It includes all of the original content from AutoCoach, with the addition of 12 extra content chapters addressing a number of issues including emotions, focus, prioritizing, reacting/reaction time, physical issues, understanding, wheelchair safety, vision, operating secondary controls and trunk/ balance issues.

The curriculum draws upon the decades of experience of Shepherd Center’s certified driver rehabilitation specialists (CDRS). These specialists have trained and evaluated thousands of drivers with physical and/or cognitive impairments, and are uniquely qualified to help parents teach teens with those conditions how to drive safely, said Emma Harrington, director of injury prevention and education at Shepherd Center.

“With motor vehicle crashes being one of the leading causes of death for teens in our country, it is our responsibility to provide parents with the tools they need to properly train our youngest drivers before they take to the roads,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “AutoCoach 2.0 brings together all of the tools of AutoCoach with added inclusivity for drivers with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.”

Developed in partnership with GOHS and CapTech, AutoCoach is a first-of-its-kind smartphone app that helps parents teach safe driving to their teens. It uses a curriculum developed by Shepherd Center’s CDRS staff to instruct parents and other adults how to teach safe driving behaviors. Because most states require a specific number of hours of practice in various driving conditions before issuing a license, AutoCoach logs supervised driving hours under daytime and nighttime conditions. The app also is customizable by state based on each state’s requirements.

“We are excited to enable the technology to make AutoCoach more accessible to this important population,” said CapTech’s Atlanta office leader Boyd Christian. “Broadening the audience we serve plays a valuable role in keeping our highways safe.”

As a nationally ranked rehabilitation facility, Shepherd Center’s mission includes injury prevention, and the hospital is especially focused on preventing spinal cord and brain injuries related to motor vehicle crashes.

“A leading cause of these injuries is consistently motor vehicle crashes,” said Shepherd Center President and CEO Sarah Morrison. “We look forward to sharing our unique expertise via AutoCoach so, that together, we can work on reducing the number of teen motor vehicle crashes.”

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About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.