Telematics insurer warns against penalising young motorists and argues encouraging safer driving behaviour makes more sense
insurethebox, the UK pioneer of telematics-based car insurance, believes the latest government proposals[i] to ban new drivers from driving at night is an ineffective and punitive solution to a very real problem in the fight against the high numbers of young drivers involved in serious accidents.
Simon Rewell, Road Safety Manager at insurethebox comments: “This has been discussed before, but we remain certain that a curfew on young drivers is ‘a sledgehammer to crack a nut’. We have clear evidence that engaging with young drivers to help them understand the risks of poor driving, such as speeding, has a direct influence on driving behaviour. Simply stopping new motorists from driving at night – which actually is an important skill to develop – affects the social mobility of our youngest adults which we believe would be quite demotivating.”
Instead of imposing curfews, insurethebox supports continuous learning with a ‘carrot, rather than stick’ approach; empowering young drivers to manage their driving behaviour by providing information on their driving habits and ways to stay safe through its online portal and engagement with its customers.
“We don’t see a curfew on driving as a workable or fair solution,” continued Simon Rewell. “New drivers continue to be a huge challenge when it comes to improving road safety and reducing road deaths. It’s welcome news that the Government is looking at ways to help reduce road accidents, but we don’t believe that a night-time curfew is the right way forward.
“Imposing punitive measures on young drivers could have an unfair impact on their lives, such as hampering their earning potential if they work in jobs which require night shifts or late-night duties. There are also questions around how this proposal will affect different locations, given that darkness falls as early as 5pm in certain regions of England – even earlier during winter – and may last until 7:30 am, when many young motorists will need to have left home for college, university or work.
“Our 4.5 billion miles of telematics data does show that driving after 11pm significantly increases the risk of an accident for young motorists. There are however numerous other road risks that new drivers struggle with and unless we help drivers to improve their skills, the numbers impacted are unlikely to change.
“The government should be looking at solutions to better prepare young, new drivers such as extended periods of learning so that this demographic of motorists can gain more experience in driving in different light and weather conditions. Restricting the number of passengers in the car is a good start”
“At insurethebox, we have been able to improve road safety by proactively engaging with customers to help them identify the risks they pose to themselves and other motorists and road users. We have seen great success with this approach – for example the insight we gather from our telematics data helps us support and educate the newest drivers on the roads, as our ground-breaking speed reduction initiative has demonstrated. For the three years the programme has been in operation, 97,000 drivers have reduced their speed[ii] by 20%, leading to a 6.5% reduction in accident frequency. Using Government data on the impact of speeding on road traffic accidents, we estimate this to have prevented 922 accidents[iii] and avoided 29 serious injuries[iv]. Safer drivers also benefit from cheaper car insurance from insurethebox, which is a great incentive.”
[ii] Analysis of 97,000 customer in the communications programme over three years in comparison to customers outside the programme. Unless stated otherwise “speeding” is defined as speed limit +30%, counted as speeding instances per mile where an instance is captured every 5 seconds.
[iii] Prevented accidents calculated based on the decreased accident frequency of the 97,000 customers in the programme.
[iv] Government data shows that 3% of all accidents lead to serious injuries.