Insurer challenges restrictions on younger drivers

A leading insurance company has challenged the belief that young drivers should have more restrictions imposed on them after passing their driving tests.

Carrot Car Insurance has said that young drivers should instead be encouraged to drive safely after comments made by former Conservative transport spokesman Lord Attlee last week.

Lord Attlee has made repeated calls in the past for restrictions on young drivers, as well as limits on how many passengers they can carry in an effort to curb irresponsible driving from youngsters.

Black box

However, telematics-based insurance specialists Carrot said that young drivers should opt for black box insurance options which monitor driving behaviours, and be rewarded for good driving.

This works by plugging a telematics device into the car’s diagnostic port, usually used for servicing information, which can constantly track the driver’s behaviour behind the wheel to assess how safely they drive.

The box measures speed, distance travelled and even things like how hard a driver pushes their cars into corners, which is used to calculate how risky a driver is and to determine their insurance costs.

Carrot has reported a 62 per cent increase in the number of drivers aged between 17 and 24, who are increasingly turning to black box insurance thanks to the rise in average insurance premiums.

The company claims that systems like this highlight areas for improvement that young drivers could work on, and “means no draconian measures” need to be taken to encourage positive changes.

Undue pressure

Ed Rochfort, Carrot’s product director, said: “Constraints can have unintended consequences and put undue pressure on young drivers.

“Rushing to make strict curfews is an example of the unnecessary risks restrictions can pose. Furthermore, imposing curfews could have an economic impact on many young drivers, as some are employed to do shift work.”

He added that statistics show that young drivers choosing telematics-based insurance for their cars have fewer accidents than drivers who choose traditional insurance methods.

New legislation

However, some drivers have expressed concern over black-box insurance after new European legislation introduced last year will see all new cars fitted with black boxes from October.

The legislation is introducing the boxes as a safety method that can help emergency services locate accidents more quickly, though some are concerned about the device’s ability to ‘spy’ on drivers.

Known as eCall, the devices will feature an SOS button inside cars which will enable drivers to dial 999 quickly, but the boxes will also be able to track each car’s location and every move.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said that while a large majority of motorists are concerned about the move, there’s little that the government can do to stop the measures.

He said: “The basis for our opposition is that costs to the UK outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately, there is very little support for the UK position and no possibility of blocking this legislation.”