Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, a leading provider of cars and insurance for young people, calls on the government to follow the lead of the Northern Ireland Assembly and put in place policies that improve the safety of young drivers.
“Northern Ireland has now introduced a curfew for young drivers carrying passengers between the hours of 11pm and 6am for the first six months after passing their test. This follows a Road Traffic Amendment Bill passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly this week.
“While we’re against curfews in general, many of our customers need cars to get to and from work shifts at all times of day or night, this is a positive step towards improving the safety of young drivers.
“We know that the more passengers a young person carries, the more at risk they are of being in an accident and wholeheartedly welcome any law that helps to improve safety (wherever that may be). On a cautious note, this is not going to be easy to police. There will always be young people who break the rules - and it’s often these people that are at greatest risk of being involved in an accident.
“A much better way of improving safety, whilst reducing the cost of premiums, is to provide all young drivers with telematics-based insurance during the first few years of driving. We know that this technology improves safety; on a national basis 1 in 5 drivers is involved in an accident, with our customers this is reduced to 1 in 20. However, simply installing a black box in a young driver’s car is not enough. Telematics needs to be reinforced with one-to-one customer support to help those who are at risk of harming themselves and others.
“Not only is black box insurance typically cheaper for young drivers, but it enables much fairer premiums that are based on the individual’s driving behaviour. In our experience, most customers see a reduction in premiums of at least 50% on renewal, with many seeing savings of up to 70%.
“It would also help if the government scrapped Insurance Premium Tax for those less than 25 years of age, something that together with the rest of the insurance industry we’ve been long campaigning for. To be honest, we would welcome any indication that the government was doing something about improving the safety of our young drivers. Perhaps this move by the Northern Ireland Assembly will act as a prompt to those sitting in Westminster and we eagerly await some positive news.”