Insurers are warning that learner drivers need to be better supported after they pass their driving test in the wake of Covid-19, following the resumption of tests on 22 April.
Around 420,000 learner drivers are currently sat in a backlog and have not been able to take their test because of pandemic restrictions. Norrie Erwin, MD of Carrot Insurance (part of Trak Global Group) which insures thousands of newly-qualified drivers each year, said he is worried that a wave of under-experienced drivers on Britain’s roads could result in a spike in accidents.
“It has been a very tough ride for the Covid generation of young people, and we are concerned that for many, not only has there been a big gap between taking their theory test and their practical test, but there’s also a high probability they’ve spent less time behind the wheel honing their roadcraft in the run-up to getting their pass certificate.”
To address this, Carrot has teamed up with RoadHow, a new, app-based, AI-powered driver coaching platform, to offer all Carrot customers access to a free smartphone app that will help them improve their road knowledge once they have passed their test and plug any potential gaps in their learning journey. Together, the companies are hoping to reduce the risk of novice drivers being involved in an accident during their crucial first six months on the road, when collision risk is statistically at its highest.
He explained that driving instructors have had restricted opportunity to coach learners during the last twelve months, and parents have been reluctant to take their children out for practice drives, given lockdown stay-at-home orders. “The normal run of lessons and practice opportunities available to learner drivers has been severely curtailed, and worryingly this is bound to have a knock-on effect”, said Norrie.
Official statistics show that around 750,000 new driving licences are issued by the DVLA each year, and there are one million tests taken in all. Approximately 66% of new licences are issued to 17–24-year-olds.
Norrie said: “Including the backlog, there will be as many as one million inexperienced drivers on British roads by the time we reach the end of 2021. We’re obviously excited that tests have resumed, freedom of movement is returning, and our business can kick on looking after our young driver customers, but accidents are something we all want to avoid.”
Adrian Ryan, CEO and founder of RoadHow, commented ‘We feel like we’re launching at exactly the right time, and making our app available to Carrot’s customers for free is something we’re delighted to do. In choosing telematics-based insurance, like Carrot, and self-selecting to use the RoadHow app, drivers can demonstrate that they are doing all they can to be as safe and responsible as possible, and in turn reduce accidents. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Norrie noted that according to Carrot’s telematics data, average miles driven by 17-24 year olds during April was back up to pre-Covid levels. “Our customers aren’t taking so many journeys by car, but the journeys are longer, and we have noticed a slight change in time of day. During April there was an uptick in journeys made during the middle of the day, and not so much in traditional commuting hours. However, we won’t know whether this is a lasting trend until we’ve seen a few weeks’ more data, and some sense of the ‘new normal’ taking shape.”
About Carrot Insurance (Carrot)
Carrot Insurance (Carrot) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trak Global Group (TGG). In the UK, Carrot is an award-winning B2C telematics insurance provider, but the underpinning platform has now been made available internationally to enable any organisation seeking to take a UBI proposition to market to do so quickly and with a high degree of configurability.
By using telematics hardware and smartphone apps to provide feedback, messaging and rewards to incentivise better driving behaviours, the Carrot approach is proven to help reduce claims frequency – this in turn reduces insurance premiums for policyholders and increases customer satisfaction and reduces losses for insurers.
RoadHow is a VC-backed UK based tech company which offers the most advanced driver risk management and learning platform in the marketplace. Dedicated to improving driver behaviour and reducing insurance risk, RoadHow uses data, driver engagement, incentives and current/future forecast metrics to change how drivers approach their time on the road and behind the wheel.
Utilising the power of Big Data, AI, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality, the ground-breaking RoadHow app and platform delivers change for all stakeholders – Drivers, Insurers & MGAs, Telematics Service Providers, Intermediaries, Fleet Managers and anyone else involved in vehicle insurance, performance, risk management and monitoring.