Car insurer says young driver curfew would be ‘unworkable’

12.00 | 30 April 2013 | | 3 comments

The car insurer ‘insurethebox’ has published a paper in which it says that a curfew on young drivers is not a ‘workable or fair solution’.

In March, the Government confirmed its intention to launch a Green Paper in a bid to improve the safety of young drivers. The paper will look at a range of options for improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers and will be published later in the spring.

The insurethebox paper is in anticipation of changes for young drivers likely to feature in the Green Paper.

insurethebox, a leading provider of telematics, says that it welcomes the debate on young drivers and supports measures such as a redesigned driving test, restricting passengers, and a longer learning period.

However, it does not see a curfew on driving at night – such as that put forward by the Association of British Insurers – as workable or fair, and nor does it believe the move would reduce motor premiums for young drivers. The car insurer adds that the best way to make driving safer in the long term is to educate young drivers, not ban them.

In its paper, insurethebox says: “The ABI’s statistics show that young drivers have more accidents at night and that they represent a greater proportion of accidents at night than during the day. However, this is an over-simplification of the true picture.

“Because we record details of when and where our customers drive, we have been able to analyse more than 600 million miles of motoring. Our data shows that 19–23 year olds drive the highest percentage of their total miles at night. When you take this into consideration, analysis of night-time accidents show a far smaller difference by age group.

“In other words, the main reason young people crash more often at night is that they drive more often at night, not that they are much more dangerous. In fact, drivers of all ages are more likely to crash at night.”

A curfew could also increase risks to young drivers, according to insurethebox. The car insurer claims that young drivers could be encouraged to rush home in order to meet the deadline.

It says: “A delay, poor planning or simply poor time keeping would be a regular occurrence and those individuals would feel pressure to drive faster. Encouraging inexperienced drivers to speed on our roads is very dangerous and would likely result in increased serious accidents around the curfew.

“A curfew might encourage young people to take risks with personal safety, such as accepting a lift with someone they would not otherwise trust, using unlicensed mini-cabs, waiting for infrequent night buses or walking home alone.”

Click here to read the insurethebox paper.


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    Really great information, It would have also been good to see the situation on 17 and 18 year olds though.

    Philip Blake, Jersey Channel Islands
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    For the Road Safety ETP profession, almost all that we do is led and informed by factual information and established educational and marketing principles and practice, and it is good to have Duncan’s support for our approach. Being able to access analyses from insurance data is the missing link that we, DfT and the ABI are all working towards. If we can work much more closely with the insurers to make use of their data (anonymised or however it needs to be retain personal privacy) that would be a step change in how we are able to analyse and understand driver behaviour and patterns of driving. We warmly welcome this development and look forward to great progress with insurers in the near future.

    Honor Byford, Vice Chair, Road Safety GB
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    Wonderful! It’s so rare to see such a common sense approach and one that is based on factual information rather than dogma.

    Maybe now that it’s easy to record what’s actually happening rather than what people think is happening we might start to get somewhere.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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