The Department of Transport has taken the opportunity of a motor industry summit to push a green paper proposing changes to reduce car insurance costs across the board.
Young drivers in particular are the focus of the consultation, though it’s hoped the proposed changes will benefit all motorists. With one-fifth of all serious and fatal crashes involving at least one driver between the ages of 17 and 24, the DfT hopes to tackle claims from this demographic and bring the overall accident rate – and insurance cost – down.
Up for consideration are plans to implement a minimum learning period, to make the test more rigorous and include motorway and nighttime driving, to encourage those who’ve recently passed their test to take further training and to increase the probationary period – during which a new driver can be disqualified for 6 penalty points – from two to three years. There are also plans to better train driving instructors – perhaps even giving us league tables to look forward to…
The proposals follow a number of changes already made to make it harder to pursue spurious whiplash claims and to change the referral fees and “no win no fee” claim structure that allows ambulance-chaser lawyers to double their fees in the event of a successful litigation.
While a number of leading insurers were present at the summit, the proposals don’t meet with universal approval. Specialist young driver and black box insurer ingenie already works with younger drivers along with post-test training to help them gain experience, but believes that curfews would mask the problem rather than addressing it – adding that only 9% of ingenie-insured driver claims occur at night.
While it’s certainly the case that the UK driving test is wanting and adding components for motorway and adverse driving conditions is sorely needed, focusing on younger drivers isn’t necessarily apt.
Only one in eight full UK Licence holders is under 25 and many of this majority of older drivers won’t have had any assessment of their driving standards in decades. Amending the test and keeping new drivers on probation will do nothing to address this.
It’s good to see the industry behind whiplash claims is being tackled though – with some insurers actually running at a loss due to both the swell in claims and the referral fees paid to the ambulance chasers.