Young driver safety and insurance briefing 01 Mar 2017

The RAC Foundation has appeared before the House of Commons Petitions Committee as part of its inquiry into the cost of car insurance for young people.

The inquiry was triggered after more than 180,000 people signed a petition calling for the cost of car insurance for young drivers to be capped.

The oral evidence - given on 28 February 2017 by the RAC Foundation's head of research Elizabeth Box - was based on a written briefing submitted previously.

As part of the evidence the RAC Foundation suggested the government take the following actions:

  • Reduce the level of insurance premium tax – for all drivers or young drivers specifically. Insurance premium tax is significantly higher in Great Britain than many other EU countries, and as a percentage hits particularly on those already facing higher premiums;  
  • Provide an Insurance Premium Tax break for learner drivers, to make getting supervised practice before passing the driving test more affordable, which in turn should help reduce car insurance costs if young drivers are safer as a result.

 

And in order to reduce the risk exposure that is at the root cause of high premiums:

On learning to drive

  • encourage or mandate an increased amount of on-road supervised experience whilst learning to drive;
  • encourage or mandate learner drivers to practice in a variety of situations that they will experience on the road (such as driving in the dark, on motorways and in different weather conditions);
  • accelerate the introduction of the new practical driving test, which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has been trialling, which is widely recognised as providing a more realistic assessment of real-world independent driving; and
  • ensure, as part of the learning to drive process that, road safety education teaches young drivers how to develop self-regulatory plans to reduce driving risk - it is not enough to just teach the physical skills and capabilities needed for driving. 

 

Once qualified

  • encourage young drivers and their parents/guardians to be cautious about taking passengers and driving at night in the first six months after obtaining a full driving licence; and
  • encourage the take up of telematics policies, that continue to provide feedback to the driver as their experience grows 
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