Money & Motoring31st March 2015

miDrive app will help deaf youngsters pass their driving test

Mobile phone app puts information about the driving test at the finger tips of Deaf youngsters

by Sarah Lawrence

One of the topics I am most asked about by Deaf youngsters or parents of Deaf teenagers, is taking and passing the driving test. Sadly, I am rarely able to offer much advice about where to access deaf friendly help and advice to get through the theory test or the driving test. Deaf youngsters plough on and get through it, but there has always been an opportunity for someone to come along and make it that little bit easier.

As with a lot of new technologies that are invented for the mainstream, inadvertently, they can sometimes be really helpful for Deaf people too. I came across one such product by accident yesterday, the miDrive app for iOS and Android phones.

I’ve had a quick look at it – registration was straight forward, and the information someone needs from the very first moment of thinking of starting to drive is there. It's brilliant information actually, almost a step by step guide about the things you should be thinking about. Sometimes the information is written, which can contain some complex language, but there are also subtitled video clips.

I can see why the app has been such a huge success. It helps you to find, book, and pay for the right driving instructor and it can support you from day 1 all the way through to passing your test. And, it’s FREE.

Launched in late 2013, miDrive’s mission is to revolutionise the process of learning to drive with technology. The miDrive apps for Android and iOS have helped thousands of learner drivers to improve their driving skills, find qualified driving instructors and pass their driving tests more quickly, while also saving on their lesson expenses. In addition to a robust instructor search tool, miDrive gives learner drivers access to an extensive library of helpful articles and videos, and allows them to easily track their drives in a similar manner to fitness tracking apps.

My one disappointment with the app is that there seems to have been no consideration of deaf learners in the provision of information about the driving instructors and whether they might be deaf aware. Perhaps this is one area miDrive will look at in the future. This said, I still think miDrive is hugely helpful to deaf learners and it is certainly worth looking at.

Here is what miDrive had to say about their progress and their recent landmark:

miDrive, the UK’s most downloaded app for learner drivers and instructors, has engaged more than 50,000 learner drivers. The free iOS and Android app, which helps users improve their driving skills, shows there is a real appetite from learner drivers for technology to help them pass their driving test and become better drivers.

Using videos, blogs and lesson route tracking, the app helps learner drivers to plan what to learn prior to their lessons. With a database of more than 3,000 qualified and verified driving instructors, the app also enables learning drivers to find the right instructor in their local area. Using miDrive Pay, users can pay driving instructors directly through the app.

Scott Taylor, CEO of miDrive says: “Learning to drive can be a stressful and expensive process. Our research has revealed that it can cost up to £1,500 to learn but our app can reduce this cost by up to £300. To reach 50,000 users in a year shows how miDrive is helping a community of learner drivers to pass their test in fewer lessons and become safer drivers.”

Scott continues: “And let’s not forget driving instructors - the app is also an ideal platform to market their services. We will continue to be innovative to attract both learners and instructors and build our community.”

The company also launched a new ‘Theory Test by miDrive’ app that puts the fun into learning to drive and revising for the theory test by gamifying the experience. Users can learn the knowledge solo or go head-to-head with other learner drivers. The app is free to download on iOS and Android.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Deaf Lifestyle / Money & Motoring

31st March 2015