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Is telematics insurance behind drop in young driver road casualties?

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The number of 17-19-year-old drivers who have been killed or seriously injured in accidents on UK roads has fallen by a third in the last seven years, according to research.

Traffic accidents among young drivers have fallen by 35% since 2011, compared to 16% for the driving population as a whole.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which carried out the analysis, said this marked reduction provided “compelling evidence” of the important role telematics insurance has played in cutting road casualties among the youngest most vulnerable drivers.

It said the one major difference between young drivers and their older counterparts is telematics insurance, with four in five young drivers estimated to have a telematics policy today.

Telematics policies require drivers to have a black box fitted to their vehicle, which tracks their driving performance. Their insurer charges them based on how well they drive or sometimes offers a rebate at the end of the year.

According to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), in 2017 the number of live telematics-based policies reached almost one million.

Graham Gordon, director, global telematics at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said: “Young drivers remain the riskiest drivers on our roads but the insurance sector deserves a great deal of credit for developing an insurance product that encourages safer driving and delivers fairer pricing to young drivers based on their road behaviour.

“The analysis is exciting because it provides evidence that telematics has had a real impact on the safety of young drivers and the potential it therefore offers to improve road safety standards for all motorists.”

The research comes at a time when the cost of offering telematics is falling dramatically for the insurance sector – by as much as 50% since 2013, according to LexisNexis.

Analysis of motor insurance premiums shows telematics polices frequently come out as some of the most competitive insurance policies when drivers shop for cover.

Tim Marlow, head of autonomous & connected vehicle research at insurer Ageas, said: “It’s good to see that telematics are both giving young drivers access to insurance products designed to meet their needs and reducing the number of young drivers who become casualties.

“Future developments of this technology offer the potential to reduce casualties among other age groups, making a welcome contribution to our stagnated casualty reduction targets.”

In total, 500 people are killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads every week. In 2017, 1,793 people were killed, an average of five people every day.

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