Last week BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat reported that around 200 new drivers had their licences revoked each week in 2012, following a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA.
The show’s research found that 10,797 drivers with fewer than two years’ experience lost their licences, with more than half being banned for driving without insurance.
It is estimated that in 2009 one in six 17 to 20-year-old drivers did not have basic cover, but this has now dropped to about one in 17, perhaps due to more innovative and competitively priced insurance products now available for young drivers, such as telematics or ‘black box’ technology and other schemes which provide free insurance with the purchase of a new car.
Prohibitive Insurance Costs
However, despite this drop, prohibitive insurance costs still force young and new drivers to unintentionally drive without adequate cover, in pursuit of more affordable rates.
In the report, Newsbeat spoke to one young driver, Chris Moore, from Southend in Essex, who had his licence revoked 18 months after passing his test after discovering he wasn’t covered after bumping into another vehicle on a roundabout.
Mr Moore said: “I was a named driver on my dad’s policy but his car was broken down at the time. He wanted me to run an errand. We checked the policy and it said the ‘policyholder could drive any other car’.”
Believing he was covered, he drove the other car in which he had the accident. It was only when he went to the police station to hand over his documents that he discovered he wasn’t covered. Both he and his father had misunderstood the terms of the policy, in which as a ‘named driver’, Mr Moore was not the ‘policyholder’ and therefore was not insured to drive any car other than his father’s.
Although when he appeared in court six months later the magistrate was happy that Mr Moore was not deliberately driving without insurance, the court was still obliged to give him a £125 fine and six points.
Decrease Premiums for Young People
Crispin Moger, managing director of young driver insurance company, Marmalade, said: “Young drivers have in the past been priced off the roads and we all need to work hard to fix the problem. They often don’t have the life experience to know how much trouble they will get into if they get caught without insurance.”
“The insurance industry needs to do more to help get premiums down for young people. All our young drivers use telematics technology, which monitors how they drive and helps us to keep insurance costs down.
“These latest figures prove that most insurers have ignored young drivers’ needs and instead just hike up the cost of insurance. As the Newsbeat investigation shows, this can cause young drivers to unintentionally drive without adequate cover and ultimately break the law.”