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Co-op calls for T-plate introduction

Written by: Emma Lunn
Co-op Insurance has launched a “T-plate” pilot to help young drivers with telematics feel safer on the roads.

The move came after the insurer discovered that more than half (53%) of young drivers feel pressured by other motorists to drive faster. As a result, a quarter (24%) feel physically unsafe when they drive.

Co-op Insurance’ Beyond the Box report surveyed more than 24,000 of the insurer’s young drivers as well as 4,000 UK motorists of all ages.

It found that four fifths (80%) of young motorists have experienced another vehicle driving too close to them.

Almost three quarters (72%) have been subject to a driver overtaking them when it wasn’t safe to do so, and more than two fifths (43%) have been on the receiving end of rude hand gestures.

More than a quarter (27%) had been shouted at by another driver, while one in five (21%) have felt pressured to pull out at a junction when it wasn’t safe.

With almost a third (30%) of young drivers experiencing these behaviours on a weekly basis, one in four (23%) have said they feel anxious on the roads. A similar amount (24%) said it made them feel unsafe.

The study also found that almost two fifths (37%) of motorists over the age of 26 have flashed their lights in frustration at another driver, and more than a quarter (26%) have sworn at another motorist.

When asked what would help young drivers feel safer on the roads, more than two thirds (69%) said they wished other motorists knew they were driving with a black box and so must drive responsibly.

In response to the findings, Co-op Insurance is today launching a nationwide pilot of a pioneering concept: the “T-plate”.

The plate, similar in look to an “L” or a “P” plate will indicate to other road users that the vehicle is fitted with a black box and so that driver will be driving safely, to the speed limit and in line with the law.

Charles Offord, managing director of Co-op Insurance, said: “It’s unacceptable that so many young drivers are feeling pressured by others on the roads. Ultimately, every driver should be adhering to speed limits and driving in line with the law, but we know that isn’t always the case.

“Instead of being role-models, too many older drivers are exacerbating what is already a testing time for new and less-experienced road users.

“Drivers with black boxes will see their insurance premiums increase, or in some extreme cases, their policies cancelled if they don’t drive as they should. Yet, currently it’s impossible for other motorists to know if another vehicle has a black box fitted. Young drivers want other motorists to understand this and that’s why we’re launching the T-plate.”

When asked, three fifths (60%) of Co-op’s young drivers said the T-plate would make them feel less pressured, nearly half (47%) believed it would change the way other motorists drive around them, and just under a fifth (18%) said it would make them feel more confident when driving.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “Young drivers’ combination of youth and inexperience makes them more likely to take risks and less likely to spot hazards – a potential lethal combination when behind the wheel.

“Telematics can play a vital role in nudging young drivers to drive more safely and within the law, but this needs to be aided by the behaviour of the more experienced drivers on the road who must avoid aggressive driving and show patience to those with a lack of experience. We are all responsible for road safety and together we can make the roads safer for everyone.”

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