Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, a leading provider of cars and insurance for young people, argues that the plans set out in the Department of Transport consultation today are not going to help improve the safety of young drivers. He calls on the Government to consider other initiatives that are proven to save lives.
He said: “I’m always pleased when the Department of Transport looks at ways of removing the two main problems facing young drivers today – cost and safety. While incentivising young drivers to pass their driving test first time has some benefits, namely a potential reduction in costs, I don’t agree that learner drivers will necessarily come to the test more prepared as is being proposed.
“The biggest issue for young drivers stems from their lack of experience behind the wheel, which means they won’t always know how to react in certain situations or how to handle a car in different conditions. It is this experience that we need to focus on building, even after a young person has passed their test.
“The statistics show that, on a national basis, 1 in 5 drivers has an accident in the first six months following their test – so how is this policy going to help? We’ve managed to get that figure down to 1 in 20 for our customers by providing ongoing support and advanced telematics systems and I believe that all new drivers should have telematics in their car for at least two years. As well as reducing premiums, it saves lives – and that’s something you can’t put a price on.
“I am just not convinced that this is the best idea. It might be better to set a minimum number of hours that all learner drivers need to spend behind the wheel, whether with a driving instructor or an experienced driver, within a certain period of time to ensure young people are getting a good level of tuition and experience.
“This move also has the potential to actually increase the pressure that young people are under when passing their test, making it more likely that they make mistakes which could lead to a fail. And we need to be increasing rather than hindering their chances.”