Predicting the weather would make roads safer
Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, looks at some of the technology now available to help young drivers stay safe on the roads. Offering telematics-based insurance policies, Marmalade works to improve the driving skills of young people, without restricting their freedom or enjoyment of driving.
"We have been approached by app developers in the past, offering us technology that links to a phone's GPS system and can block the phone being used if it detects motion, such as moving in a car. Whilst a good idea, it is very simple to just switch off my GPS - rendering the technology useless as a means to promote safe driving.
"What is more interesting is the movement towards black box technology - also known as telematics - being able to connect with mobile phones and in-car stereos. Anything that stops our young drivers looking at their phone whilst driving, interacting with their friends through social media, calls or texts, can only be encouraged. Likewise, technology that connects to the car stereo is good if it stops young drivers getting distracted from the road by twiddling with dials. However, it is important that we do not take away the freedom and enjoyment of driving from young people. Listening to music or the radio is not necessarily a bad thing and can help to keep up to date with traffic news.
"There is talk about technology within the black box that will be able to monitor the weight of the car and this could act as an incredibly valuable tool for parents. Statistics show that the more passengers a young person has in the car, the greater the risk. In fact for every additional passenger, the risk increases exponentially. Being able to monitor the number of passengers that your son or daughter has in the car at any one time would not only help to reassure parents, but act as a deterrent for young people considering driving a car full of young people.
"Another technology that we're quite interested in is being able to accurately forecast the weather and connecting that to the black box. We are already in contact with our customers if they have had a potentially dangerous journey, which is flagged as red through our telematics system. This is judged on the ABCS, accelerating, braking, cornering and speed. Experienced drivers know how important it is to drive to suit the weather conditions. If telematics could accurately predict the weather - and therein lies the problem - we could incorporate this into the measurement of our journey and further enable us to improve young people's driving skills."