View from the top: Educating young drivers

Tom Woolgrove

The biggest killer of people between the ages of 17 and 24 in the UK 
is being a passenger or driver in a 
car. Our data suggests young drivers are five times more likely to make 
a claim than other drivers, increasing to 10 times as the severity of the claim increases.

In the litigious world we live in, young drivers have become feared by insurers and loved by the ‘compensation culture vultures’. Their tendency to have more frequent and more severe claims means they are the main sources of bodily injury claims and a ‘cash cow’ for claims management companies and personal injury lawyers. This is inevitably reflected in higher premiums.

The only way to combat these issues is with a change to the legal process, better use of technology and further education for young drivers and their parents. We strongly support the recommendations of Lord Justice Jackson’s review, but believe that only a ban on referral fees and the subsequent reduction in legal costs will positively impact insurance premiums for consumers.

If telematics can provide a low-cost solution 
that is standardised across the industry, we will 
make considerable headway in identifying good and bad drivers.

Additionally, technological advancements such as collision avoidance systems and tired driver alerts can also help to reduce accidents. Furthermore, improvements to bumper designs, seats and seatbelts can reduce the incidence of whiplash. Together, all of these things would enable us to effectively evaluate the risk involved.

Even with these changes the wider population needs to understand that the real risk — and cost — of young drivers is not the damage to their car, but the potential damage to themselves, their passengers or other drivers.

While we can change the legal system and 
introduce technology, to have a truly holistic 
solution, we must also educate young drivers and their parents about the consequences of reckless 
and bad driving habits.

Education has to be part of the mix or driving 
will continue to be one of the biggest killers of our young people.

Tom Woolgrove, managing director of personal lines, 
RBS Insurance

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