Telematics insurance providers are expected to join a Westminster debate to urge the government to shelf plans for a nighttime curfew from young drivers. News of Ingenie and Marmalade’s participation in the January 27th debate comes as Under-Secretary of State for Transport Robert Goodwill confirmed that the publication of the green paper on young drivers’ safety, once slated for release last spring and rescheduled for December, will be delayed indefinitely.
The paper is expected to deliver a decision on controversial proposals for curfews for young drivers. It will also address several other suggestions from government, the insurance industry, and lobbyists, including a ban on intensive driving courses and a lowering of the age at which young people can drive to 16 and a half.
Goodwill attributed to the delay to the need for more careful consideration on curfews; noting that the Department for Transport must find a “difficult balance” between road safety and the freedom of young people. The Association of British Insurers, which has long advocated for curfews for young people, called the delay “disappointing,” while Labour MP Richard Burden accused government of intransigence, speculating that they were delaying addressing major public health and safety issues before the election for fear controversial remedies would put off voters.
Black box insurance providers, however, have welcomed the delay and will be taking to Westminster later in the month to further discredit the curfew proposal. They will join Goodwill, and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association and insurance companies specialising in cover for young drivers to debate the proposed curfew.
“There have been some encouraging signs of life [following the delay]. The government contacted us just before Christmas and invited us to take part in a consultation process alongside other telematics firms and brokers such as Towergate,” Ingenie founder and chief executive told Post Magazine, the leading publication in the insurance sector. “We see this as an essential step towards getting a green paper back on track, and it gives us an opportunity to present some of the data that shows curfews are not the answer,” he continued.
Simon Jackson, managing director of Girls Drive Better, also welcomed the delay. “It is good news that the green paper has been delayed if it means we’re not going to be forced to consider some ill-conceived proposals,” he said. “Curfews cause more problems than they solve. As a nation we rely on youngsters to work quite unsocial hours. There is also the matter of how [a curfew system] is policed, as forces around the country are already understaffed.” Girls Drive Better, which specializes black box insurance policies for young women, bases its premiums on good driving, not on compliance with curfews.
Fierce opposition to curfews from telematics insurance providers indicates a shift in how telematics is being deployed to keep our roads safer and trim our insurance premiums. Black box providers are increasingly moving away from rewarding drivers for avoiding nighttime driving and adopting a more sophisticated calculus that accounts for their actual maneuvering and speed when determining rates.
The insurance providers are expected to testify that curfews don’t substantially reduce accident rates among young people while telematics policies that monitor and reward good driving behaviors can help keep young drivers safe on the roads.