Radio 1 Newsbeat investigation has found today that radical plans to change the driving test have been put on hold by the government. Ministers say that they don’t want to restrict the lives of young people but Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, insists that there doesn’t have to be a compromise – and that there is no excuse for delay when it comes to improving road safety.
“I think it’s a disgrace that the Green Paper, talking about radical plans to change the driving test, has been delayed until after the elections – simply to avoid losing votes. This is about the safety of our roads and our young people so absolutely needs to be kept at the top of the political agenda. This latest delay is apparently to allow the government conduct further research into telematics to see if this can help deliver solutions to the problems – the answer is a resounding yes.
“The Green Paper sets out that new young drivers will get a probationary licence and during that 12-month probation there will be a curfew between ten at night and five in the morning – unless someone else over 30 was in the car. There would be a ban on all mobile phone use behind the wheel and a lower legal alcohol limit.
“As a company that has provided telematics-based insurance policies to young drivers for many years, we are completely against a curfew but absolutely support the ban on mobile phones and reducing the alcohol limit – and our customers agree. We asked our young drivers, aged between 17 and 25, what they thought about drinking whilst driving and found that young drivers were quite happy to have a zero tolerance attitude to drink driving. Would adults agree? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that many young people with telematics solutions drive sensibly, as is shown by our monitoring data which shows that more than 95% of our young drivers have an excellent record.
“One of the key delays surrounding the green paper is caused by the argument around curfews. Some of our competitors use curfews but we are completely against them. Many young drivers need cars to work, and if that happens to be in a restaurant or pub then having to be home before 11pm is just not a feasible or helpful option.
“The crucial issue for young drivers is lack of experience and it is this that we try to tackle through a range of products, starting with a learner insurance package that provides very low premiums whilst protecting the car owner’s no claims bonus to try and encourage young drivers to get as many hours experience as possible.
“But after someone has passed their test, we advocate getting as much experience behind the wheel as possible. We know that telematics works to help young drivers consider their actions more carefully, we see it every day, and would welcome a ruling that requires all young people to have a black box in their car for the first two to three years of driving. Even if it didn’t improve safety (although I think it would) it would give accurate data on where the problems are and enable us to tackle them accordingly.”