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Developing a smartphone app to help learner drivers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Feature, Learning to drive

pace notes learner driver assistant

I’m Andrew Brown-Allan, and I’m the Group Marketing Director at Trak Global Group, a UK company that uses telematics technology to help make the roads safer.

One of our co-founders, Kamran Mahmoudzadeh, tragically lost his 18 year old son Anoush in a road traffic accident over a decade ago, and this has been the ‘moral compass’ that has guided the work we’ve done to improve young driver road safety since our company began.

Over the last 2 years, we’ve been working closely with Highways England, DVSA and driving instructor associations to create a smartphone app for learner drivers, called PaceNotes.

pace note screenshots on iphone

More road-time, less risk

We developed the PaceNotes app to provide learners with a tool that encourages them to spend more time learning to drive. It tracks and shows the amount of time a learner has spent driving on different road types and records the driving conditions they’ve experienced, such as driving in the rain or in the dark.

By tracking the learner’s experience, the app records their driving achievements and highlights the areas they still need to cover. We want to help change learners’ attitudes towards getting on the road as a qualified driver. Most want to pass their test quickly and are unaware of the skills and knowledge needed to be a safe, responsible driver that can only be gained through extended time behind the wheel.

Saving your pupils money

Learners that use the app extensively, such as recording 40 or more hours of lessons or accompanied practice, will qualify for a discount on their first full telematics motor insurance policy. It must be quoted and bought through the PaceNotes app. Based on average new driver insurance premiums, we anticipate that this will equate to a saving of up to £120 per year.

How you can use PaceNotes

You can sign up for a free PaceNotes instructor account and online dashboard that collates the lesson and accompanied practise undertaken by each of your pupils. This will allow you to more easily create a more bespoke learning programme for them, and help you encourage them to practise driving in the dark, on country roads, motorways and in a variety of weather conditions.

I know that many of you already track your pupils’ progress, however the app provides the learner and their parents with an engaging, interactive way to illustrate progress and highlight gaps in their learning.

Benefits for you

Later this year, we’ll be looking to introduce incentives for you and your pupils if they go on to buy their first full car insurance policy via the PaceNotes app.

We’ve worked with a small group of instructors and their pupils to trial and test the app. If you want to know more about an instructor’s experience of using PaceNotes, then please read Chris Bensted’s blog post, which we'll be sharing tomorrow (2 August 2019).

Get involved

I’d encourage you sign up for an Instructor account with PaceNotes and encourage your pupils to download the app and give it a go. If you have any questions about using any aspect of it, then please comment below and we’ll get back to you.

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  1. Comment by G. Haddock posted on

    What a fantastic idea this wit save lives

  2. Comment by Tim Clayton ADI posted on

    Excellent idea! I’ve been mulling over the same thing for a few months, wondering why the insurance industry doesn’t offer such discounts for evidence of pre-test experience (rather than just post-test).

  3. Comment by Dewi Jones posted on

    Great idea. But can't sign up as I keep getting told my email address is "invalid"

  4. Comment by TREV Thomas posted on

    Sounds like its a very good idea as long as it works ?

  5. Comment by Chris posted on

    Hi, as an aside, don’t know if you are aware, but the title may cause you problems. I’ve been reading this for years & believe they have copyright.

  6. Comment by Julie posted on

    Very interested and I'm all for safer driving as I think people are getting more impatient.
    Hope the young ones go for it and just not bypass good that you are working with Dvsa to promote this idea but think it might have an affect on Adi business as they could cut the middle man out.

  7. Comment by Major Frank Tan posted on

    If this works it will the greatest saviour for all those sharing the roads, waiting for people, goods and fleet to arrive safely.

  8. Comment by James Marvin posted on

    This is outrageous, Why are the DVSA a public organisation promoting a product from a private company? Presumably all the other insurance companies that haven't signed up to the 'racket' will be excluded.

    If I write an app will the dvsa promote that for me as well? With 38,000 driving instructors pushed to use my product by the regulator with no prior consultation I'm sure I'll be quids in. How exactly is this any more effective than the paper learner driver record?.

    This is a clear abuse of the dvsas position as a regulator and government agency.

    • Replies to James Marvin>

      Comment by Andrew (DVSA) posted on

      Trak Global Group works closely with a number of government agencies, road safety organisations, insurers and mobility operators to collaborate and better understand the use of telematics technology to help deliver safer roads. In 2015, the company received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for reducing collision rates amongst newly qualified drivers by 42%.

  9. Comment by Eddie SK posted on

    Apps... that'll be on phones then? Is this the latest policy, to get kids to drive safely whilst checking apps on their phones?

  10. Comment by Peter Warren posted on

    Sounds like a good idea, I like the fact that efforts are rewarded with an insurance discount. Could this record of practice go towards qualifying for a practical test like the theory test does. Or used alongside a practical test as part of the test result as to weather a candidate gets a pass.

  11. Comment by Steve Draper posted on

    Sounds good, but it's only for instructors and pupils who have iPhones. No Android version and no mention of any intention to develop one. Many of my pupils use Android phones, not least because they're cheaper.

  12. Comment by janet posted on

    im not at all happy about the updates/ push notices and the shared data statements that need to be accepted before we can use this App?
    i do think it would be a great tool in our 'box' but these 2 statements need to be a choice not a condition !

  13. Comment by andrewfrisby posted on

    The App is available for Apple and Android. You can download the Android version from Google Play

  14. Comment by Andrew (DVSA) posted on

    App developer Trak Global states: Thanks for flagging these issues, which we’ll address in our imminent app update.
    The issue with not being able to proceed without allowing third party contact is a bug that will be fixed in the next release. We are also looking at expanding the gender options in a future release.

  15. Comment by Andrew (DVSA) posted on

    App developer Trak Global replies: Thank you for highlighting this – it’s a bug in the app and we will ensure this is updated as soon as possible.

  16. Comment by David posted on

    I commented with concerns on privacy issues, and have had 2 emails saying I have received replies to my post. However, when I log on to have a look, my post and any subsequent comments have been removed.

    Can you shed any light on why that would be please?

    The links in the emails are;