Young Driver Focus 2016: as it happened

12.00 | 20 April 2016 |


  • Takes place at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London
  • More than 200 road safety professionals in attendance
  • Follow the action by using the #YDF2016 hashtag, or by following YDF or RSGB on Twitter
  • Please refresh page for latest updates

16.10: Closing keynote presentation

The closing keynote presentation for #YDF2016 was delivered by Meredydd Hughes, executive chairman, Road Safety Support:
• Struck by Dr Foulkes talking about adolescence – reminded us our young drivers are young people, there to be valued.
• Technology changing all the time – including cars
• Technology getting faster, increasing in pace
• Globalisation – young people do not come from a homogenous group. Need to think out of the box when communicating with them
• The process of globalisation is increasing – the movement of people around the world is set to increase.
• We therefore need to think internationally – a whole new set of challenges on the horizon
• I encourage you through competition and innovation to try new things – to find new ways of working towards zero road casualties

15.55: The Road Safety Performance Forum (RSPF)

Deana Frost and Mark Taylor present the Road Safety Performance Forum:
• Forum will encourage partnerships, engagement and evaluation
• Created a channel for discussion (who is doing what?)
• Pool budgets & pool resources
• Next meeting 12 July – all welcome to attend

15.45: Evaluating Young Driver Education Interventions

Nick Lloyd, Road Safety Manager for England, RoSPA, is evaluating young driver education interventions: 
• Many young driver interventions are not properly evaluated
• Why evaluate – ‘do no harm’, ‘prove and improve’, ‘funding & best practice’
Evaluation carried out on behalf of Derby & Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership looking at road safety workshop showed:
• Limit use of shock tactics
• Interactive tasks can be a useful tool
• Provide realistic coping strategies
• Don’t alienate passengers

15.30: RSGB Connect: a new online tool for road safety professionals

James Evans, FirstCar, presents RSGB Connect. 

The challenge is to extend online communication among road users.

• One hit is not enough (‘the forgetting curve’)
• Frequency is important (repeat messaging)
• Turning offline audience into online audience
• Capturing data – email addresses
• RSGB Connect – stores contact information
• Fully managed and supported platform


15.15: Uninsured young drivers

Neil Drane is presenting for the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, looking at the problem of uninsured drivers:
• ‘Gone in Seconds’ campaign (video)
• Phase 1 launched Sept 2015
• More than 1.4m views on YouTube
• More than 1 million cinema admissions
• Phase 2 of campaign – under development
• Launched study yesterday into ‘hit and run’ incidents

15.00: Road Safety Experience 

Alexa Kersting-Woods and Alan Faulkner present Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s ‘Road Safety Experience’ as we move into the ‘On the Ground’ session of #YDF2016.
• Idea first mooted in 2011
• An interactive road safety centre targeted at people aged 14yrs upwards
• Opened in January 2016
• ‘Science Museum meets road safety’
• Various ‘zones’ – crash investigation zone, breakout area, responsibility zone, road safety quiz zone
• Team – all operational firefighters
• Experience starts with a crash scene extrication
Lessons learnt
• Get organisational buy in from all partners
• Bring in staff who are going to work there earlier
• Be prepared to adapt, adapt, adapt

14.15: 2016 FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety Awards

Presented with their awards by James Evans, founder of FirstCar and Med Hughes, executive director of Road Safety Support, the winners of the 2016 FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety Awards have been announced:

New Scheme

Winner: Bournemouth Borough Council – LifeDrive

Sustainable Intervention

Winner: The Honest Truth Partnership

Private Sector Initiative
Winner: RED Driving School

Partnership Scheme

Winner: Fife Council – Safe Drive, Stay Alive

Education & Training Initiative
Winner: Transport For Buckinghamshire – Get in Gear

Young Driver Campaign of the Year
Winner: Kent County Council – Don’t let drugs take the driving seat

13.30: Telematics – a Q&A session

Richard King, founder and CEO of ingenie, provides an overview of telematics, before fielding questions on the subject.

• Market growth – growing at a faster rate. Industry reports nearly half a million live policies. ingenie has now installed more than 100,000 boxes and we’re continuing to see year-on-year growth. Telematics insurance now accounts for a third of young drivers getting on the road. It’s been around five years, popular for three – it’s a game-changer.
• Customer – premiums have halved. A young driver used to be looking at up to £5,000. Our average is now £1,500 with the average renewal premium around £900. That means happy customers. 
• Innovation – we’re still at a box wired into the car but we’re now seeing the quality of data from self-install boxes. The quality, the size of them and the cost of them is improving all the time. So many centred on apps now but these are still mainly a sales tool because these require the customer to self-regulate – insurers aren’t going to offer the same attractive prices. But this is going to continue to evolve.

Would it be fair to describe telematics as insurance for comfortably off and responsible parents and their siblings, rather than those who are less well off or less responsible – who perhaps need it most of all?

  • Such a misconception
  • Absolutely not – it’s for everybody
  • The majority of the cars we insure are between 10 and 14 years old and cost a couple of thousand pounds.
  • The reasons people buy telematics differ: safety and peace of mind comes into it but most people are just trying to find the cheapest insurance.
Obviously you are a big fan of telematics insurance, but presumably there are some downsides and pitfalls for both the insurer and insured – could you outline these please?
  • Insurance has halved over the last 4 years; crash frequency within our community has dropped by 40% compared with national statistics, meaning young drivers have got a better chance of getting on the road, insurers are more likely to offer policies to young people, and parents are getting peace of mind and more involved. The government are now showing signs of support too.
  • What’s not to love? 
  • If there was one minor issue it’s that young drivers aren’t sticking with telematics as long as we’d like. We see an average of 18 months – because once they start building up their driving history, the cost benefit for box versus non-box narrows. It’s like taking the stabilisers off: in some cases they’re rushing to get them off. I’d like to see them stay longer but that’s a challenge we have as an industry: to incentivise them to stay longer.
What can be done to incentivise a greater take up of telematics insurance by young people – would a reduction in the starting price would be a good start? If their driving is so improved then why do they have to pay such a high premium from the outset? Surely to bring in the more stubborn customers, those that really need the help, a lower starting price is the best way to get them onboard, increasing premiums if their driving proves to be poor, rather than the other way round?
  •  We need to remember that this is a high-risk age group. They do have more crashes. 
  • Telematics premiums are often a lot cheaper for young drivers – recently we’ve seen that it’s around 30% cheaper than traditional insurance.
  • It’s about a third of the market that opts for insurance and there are some insurers that aren’t even seeing a profit yet.
  • We can’t expect to see reductions much beyond what we’ve seen – they’ve lowered so much already.
  • Bear in mind that with ingenie, that premium can then come down by another 21% – we’d be giving it away if it was any cheaper.
Does telematics insurance really make better drivers, or just slower ones? Surely there’s more to being safe on the road than accelerating, braking and cornering gently?
  • Driving at the speed limit – a legal requirement – isn’t driving slowly. The speed limit is the absolute maximum let’s not forget.
  • Strongest indicator for dangerous driving is harsh braking – and our own data shows the combination of sudden braking and fast cornering is even more indicative (the risk of crashing triples) – and it’s actually about the trends in driving over time not individual events. 
  • There is more to safe driving than speed, acceleration, braking and cornering but when we’re seeing poor behaviour in those, it speaks to other problems: continual harsh braking usually means a lack of proper observation and awareness, for example. 
  • We’re not making people slow drivers; telematics is a coach to help them become safe drivers.
It’s often said that parents that are against getting telematics fitted to a shared car – because they are the ones being picked up as speeding or not driving in a sensible fashion. Do you think this is true, and if so does this highlight a need to address parents’ attitudes to driving and the way they are influencing young drivers?
  • Parent education is critical. Beyond evolving ingenie, a key area for us is parents.
  • From the data we see – and I think Shaun Helman would support this – the more parents are involved, the better the driving. We see this in our own community: crash frequency significantly reduced when a parents see their child’s feedback.
  • We launched a Parent’s Guide to match our Young Driver’s Guide, and we get 50,000 hits in these areas a month. 
  • We’re doing everything we can to educate both drivers and their parents – we’re about to launch our Parent’s Manifesto of what we believe parents could do to support the learning process, and you’ll be seeing that very soon.
The IAM has suggested that telematics could have a greater impact on road safety if used alongside advanced driver training, with the telematics data used to design bespoke lessons based on a driver’s weak points. Is this something you would support?
  • There’s no question it would be beneficial, but here’s the reality: who’s going to pay for it?
  • It’s not going to be the insurer – they’re already working in a low-margin business. It would be down to the customer.
  • Is a driver or their family going to pay for further training if the insurer recommends it? It wouldn’t have big take-up and if we made it a condition, they’d leave.
Going on the positive results from the insurance companies own research, and the calls for more in the way of GDL for novice drivers, do you think compulsory telematics insurance for new drivers for at least the first year is a plausible and sensible way forward?
  • No
  • For telematics insurance to work, there has to be buy-in from the driver. 
  • The minute we make something mandatory, young drivers will go to extreme lengths to fight the system.
  • It’s the responsibility for the insurance industry to continue the good work that we’ve started: to treat customers fairly, to establish the best intervention methods for those who are not working with the system and do everything it can to help people understand the benefits – one being how much easier it’s made getting on the road. 
  • You do see people signing up because of price who are then pleasantly surprised by how well it’s working for them.

13.00: Adolescence as a sensitive period of social brain development

Dr Lucy Foulkes, research associate at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, presents adolescence as a sensitive period of social brain development.
• Adolescence – age when people are most devoted to their friends
• Many behaviours associated with adolescence are negative
• Adolescents take more risks when with friends
• Driving simulator study – with friends and alone
• When alone – very similar to other age groups
• When with friends took significantly more risks 
• Why is this – ‘reward value’ & fear of social exclusion
• Repeated experiment with subjects lying in a scanner to see what was happening in brain – significantly more activation in reward-related regions of the brain
• Something uncool about safety behaviours

12.40: Young car drivers and safety technologies – what are the challenges?

Richard Cuerden, chief scientist and research director, Engineering and Technology, TRL, explores the challenges of young car drivers and safety technologies.

• First autonomous vehicles surfaced in 1959
• At what point will all vehicles be autonomous?
• RAIDS (Road Accident In-depth Study) – in depth collision analysis – lots of collisions don’t make it into national stats
• Seatbelts – over 30% of 16-24 car occupants who are killed are not belted
• Young people over-represented in roll-over collisions – they roll their cars far more than other drivers
• Young male casualties – often well over the speed limit
• Technologies that can help young drivers – ISA, lane keep assist (prevents drifting), driver distraction monitoring, seat belt reminders
Youth key – key for parent and key for young driver (seat belt reminders etc)
"We need to get smarter at identifying technologies that can work with young drivers. Need to think about this in the round, not left to individual manufacturers."

12.15: Young and novice driver interventions – a review of the evidence

Dr Shaun Helman, head of transport psychology at the Transport Research Laboratory, provides a review of the evidence.

What we know
• Age is a key risk factor
• As they acculmulate experience they get better
• Young drivers crash more at weekends and at night, and on rural roads with bends
• They crash because of speeding/travelling too fast/loss of control
What we’ve done
• ‘Bottling experience’
• Hazard perception – people who are good at this are also good on the road
• Training can improve hazard perception
• Hazard perception test has led to around 11% drop in collisions
• Good example of basic research applied to a problem and evaluated
• Transforming the driving test – currently being trlalled
• Can the test promote more/more varied practice on wider range of routes
• Includes sat-nav
• ADIs and learners both like the new test
• Early indications – encouraging findings
What we need to find out (gaps in knowledge)
• Pockets of young drivers warrant special attention (males, poorer backgrounds)
• We don’t know what people are learning (why they are getting safer – lots of knowledge gaps)
• We don’t know if traditional driver training really works (not saying it can’t work but no evidence to say it does)
What we need to do
• More evaluation – loads of things being done may not be achieving anything positive (skid pans, one-day safety days)
• Review of young and novice driver interventions – been whittled down to four interventions/approaches worthy of further evaluation
• GDL – will come eventually, doesn’t solve entire problem, but by far the most evidence-led intervention
• Media – have role to play – changes only come about when political climate is right – media have role to play in telling the public there is a problem. Could you pls start reporting the problem. talk about the problem and the things that work
"None of this (young driver issue) is new – but we haven’t solved the problem."

11.30: End of session

Mark Born’s presentation brings to an end the first session of #YDF2016. Join us at around midday for session two:  ‘Food for thought’.

11.15: A review of driving instructor training from around the world

Mark Born of Driving Unlimited delivers a review of driving instructor training from around the world.

Mercedes Benz Driving Academy

  • Difficult to get young people in the UK to attend classroom training, but easier in other parts of the world (Canada & America)
  • Only two remaining MBDA in the world – Canada & China (both looking to expand)
  • In UK difficult for ADIs to charge a premium for enhanced service
  • It worked best in countries with external partners
  • Developed a worldwide quality assurance programme (because instructors regularly went back to ‘tell, tell, tell’ approach rather than ‘Ask, ask, ask’)
  • Driving instructors are the same across the world – focus on car control skills, road rules & test, no informed feedback on performance, poor perception of value – instruction dominated teaching methods

11.05: Sweet sound of Professor Warren Brodsky

Professor Warren Brodsky, Ben-Gurion University Of The Negev, presents: ‘Understanding the ill-effects of in-car music; how to adapt and modify playlists for increased driver safety’:

One message – raise awareness about kind of music affects young drivers in different ways.
  • 98% of drivers listen to music, and often we sing along, pound steering wheel, as if they are a performer. Young drivers, air guitar etc – cars are made to listen to music.
  • Born to be wild – one of the most popular songs and one most likely to cause near-crash incidents.
  • Prof Brodsky not interested in volume (loudness), more interested in tempo.
  • As tempo of music increases, driving speed goes up (and drivers were aware of this but didn’t slow down).
  • Lane wobble and near-crash incidents increased with tempo of music.
  • What kind of music can help people drive more safely?
  • Israeli study into effects of music on young drivers.
  • Young driver selected dance, techno, rock etc – young kids think the car is a dance floor.
  • Event severity – young people’s music choice makes this worse compared with no music or easy listening.
  • Bottom line – music causes distraction and leads to errors, traffic violation and driver aggression.
  • The fit between driving and music is essential for increased driver safety.

10.45: Ben Haythorpe presents the keys2drive initiative

Ben Haythorpe, Senior Manager Community Education of the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, presents as part of the ‘International Perspective’ session:
Australia has graduated driver licencing system. The step from being a ‘L’ plater to a ‘P’ plater is a big one
‘L’ platers are he safest they will ever be in a car – when they become a ‘P’ plater the crash risk rockets between 20 and 30 times
Keys 2 Drive – created to address this spike
  • Created by Australia’s state-based motoring clubs and both major political parties before election in 2007.
  • Uses driving instructors to help ‘supervisors’ (parents) become more effective.
  • Funds one professional lesson with supervisor present.
  • Lesson comprises combination of theory & practical.
  • Heart of problem – learners not being adequately prepared for solo driving environment.
  • Keys 2 Drive – making better use of L plate time to prepare drivers for the realities of P plate driving.
  • Student centred learning approach encourages ‘deep thinking’ and decision-making.
  • Keys 2 Drive voluntary for instructors – around 25% are accredited.
  • 420,000 learners & parents have participated.
  • Positive outcomes: longer on L plates & less likely to break rules as P platers.
  • And 40% reduction in moderate to severe injuries.

10.20:  Road safety minister in opening keynote presentation

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, takes to the stand. He says that road safety is top of the Minister’s priority list and that through continual improvement, the UK has one of the best road safety records in the world.

  • But young driver stats are alarming – surely we can do better?
  • Need to make the test more like real life driving – looking at alternative exercises to include in new test.
  • Lunching full consultation on new test later this year.
  • Good instructors are vital – looking to encourage ADIs to publish their grading & pass rates.
  • Motorway driving – if it makes sense to change rules we will do so. 
  • Hazard perception test – things have moved on since it was introduced. Computer generated images, driving in poor weather etc.
  • Basing changes on proven research.
  • £2m to investigate behavioural & technological issues (TRL, Shaun Helman to lead on this)
  • THINK! campaign – targeted messages, delivering good results
He finishes by paying tribute – "we want to work with you to make road safety the best it can be".

Question & Answer
Q: Should there be a lower d/d limit for young drivers?
A: Gov’t has no plans to lower d/d limit – more emphasis on enforcement

Q: Will gov’t incentivise insurance industry to move on technologies, telematics etc?
No plans to incentivise, telematics is interesting but will be down to insurance industry to progress this.

Q What will gov’t do to raise the standard of ADIs?
Good instructors are vital – looking to encourage ADIs to publish their grading & pass rates


09.50: Welcome to the RAC Club

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, welcomes delegates to the RAC Club and introduces the event:
  • 69% of journeys to work are by car
  • 1in 5 jobs require access to a car
  • 1 in 6 apprenticeships require access to a car
  • Most dangerous – young male driver, Saturday evening, in the car with their mates
  • Shock doesn’t work with young people
  • Could we use more humour?
  • Or maybe feedback (telematics etc), or being observed (drive as if your mum was on the back seat) – dashcam

09.45: Welcome and introductions by conference chair 

Richard Storrs, commercial director of our organisers, FirstCar, is welcoming delegates to Young Driver Focus 2016.



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