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Redtail Telematics comment: New drivers could be banned from travelling at night as part of plans to improve road safety

Plans for a graduated licence system to restrict novice drivers in England, Scotland and Wales were announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).

According to BRAKE, Young drivers (17-24 years old) are at a much higher risk of crashing than older drivers. Drivers aged 17-19 only makeup 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 9% of fatal and serious crashes where they are the driver.  The move comes as figures suggest one in five drivers are involved in a crash within a year of passing their test.

As well as not driving at night, the DfT said the system could feature restrictions such as a minimum learning period and not driving with passengers under a certain age.  The DfT did not say how long the measures would be in place after someone had passed their driving test.  Road safety minister Michael Ellis said getting a driving licence could be both “exciting” and “daunting” for young people.  He said graduated driver licensing could “help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads”.

Dr Colin Smithers, CEO of Redtail Telematics comments: “We cautiously welcome the Government’s initiative, however telematics technology already plays a vital role in improving driver behaviour and road safety and, if utilised correctly, can help further improve the safety of UK roads. For example, telematics technology can be used to control the times of day that drivers can get behind the wheel; some insurers offer curfew-based policies, thereby restricting evening driving and can thereby ensure that new drivers are not permitted on the road after a certain time.  As part of a solution to help drivers recognise when they are driving with an increased level of risk, Redtail Telematics has developed technology called Push-API which, via the insurer, alerts the driver when they are at risk from speeding, harsh braking and other areas of elevated risk.  However, unlike other telematics providers who measure only four elements of driver behaviour, Redtail Telematics alerts the driver with additional information that records twelve elements, including tailgating, driver fatigue and braking on corners, thereby significantly improving the safety of the driver.

Dr Smithers concludes: “The increased use of telematics has important implications for anyone who might consider taking up a a telematics-based insurance policy, policymakers and for society as a whole. Widespread use of telematics is also likely to lead to better driving and fewer fatalities. BRAKE, the UK road safety charity estimates that there were 1,793 deaths due to road traffic accidents in 2018; How many lives would be saved if drivers knew they could save large amounts of money by paying more attention to their driving habits? As a parent who has used such policies, the reality is it’s the effects on one’s children driving that are so much more important than the discount.”


Key facts:

  • Risk analysts say telematics insurance has played a vital role in making young drivers safer at the wheel. Teenage road casualties (17-19) in this age group has fallen by 35% since 2011, DfT stats show
  • In the same period, deaths and serious injuries for the entire driving population dropped by 16%
  • Around 4 in 5 17-19 year olds have black box cover: by the end of 2018 there were almost 1 million drivers in the UK with a telematics policy