Atlanta, GA,
09:50 AM

Shepherd Center’s AutoCoach Driver Training App to Add Content for Teens with Disabilities

Highly rated mobile app helps thousands of parents teach safe driving to young drivers.

A new version of Shepherd Center’s popular mobile app AutoCoach will add 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).

Set for release later this year, AutoCoach 2.0 will be customizable to provide expert guidance on how to teach new drivers with disabilities. The curriculum will drawn 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.

“With motor vehicle crashes being the leading cause of death for teens in our country, we must make sure our youngest drivers receive the proper training before they get behind the wheel,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Parents and other adult family members are key to providing and supporting proper training, and we’re excited to give them an easy-to-use tool right on their smartphones to help do that.”

Developed in partnership with GOHS and IT management consulting firm CapTech, AutoCoach is a first-of-its-kind smartphone app released in July 2017 that helps parents teach safe driving to their teens. It uses a curriculum developed by Shepherd Center’s certified driving experts to instruct parents and other adults how to teach safe driving behaviors. Because most states require a set number of hours of each 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.

“This year, we are excited to enable the technology to bring AutoCoach to this important new population,” said CapTech Director Boyd Christian. “Enhancing the accessibility of this program 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.“The number one cause of those 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, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.