Thursday, October 4, 2012
More training for young drivers is a good idea, but then so is cheaper insurance
Impoverished young poets need not worry though, for help is at hand. That august body, the Association of British Insurers, has come up with some new suggestions to stop 17-25 year olds, who make up an eighth of Britain's motorists but of a third of those killed in car crashes. They're also, by and large, the most likely drivers to be a bit skint and yet the ones who get hammered the most by the singing man from the Go Compare ads.
In a nutshell, the ABI would like to ban intensive learner driving courses, insist that all youngsters spend at least a year at driving school, with the option to start at 16-and-a-bit, and that for the first six months they aren't allowed to take their mates out with them. Oh, and the amount of alcohol they'll be allowed to have their system will be absolutely none. Zilch. Not a drop.
Having vivid memories of being driven by a tailgating teenager in a cream-crackered Peugeot 206 down the M6 on a snowy day one winter, I can completely understand why the ABI are so keen on bringing in measures which effectively protect younger drivers from themselves. I'm old and wise enough to understand the benefits of things like defensive driving, but I'm still young enough to recall some of the extortionate figures insurance companies asked me when I tried to get a quote for a Mini 1000 which could barely crack seventy.
I reckon it's got to work both ways. Sure, I'm all for 17-year-olds learning more about their driving - in fact, chuck in a few Scandinavian-style lessons about car control while we're at it - but those who pass what'd be a far harder test should be rewarded with realistic premiums they can actually afford. To be fair to the ABI, they say they'd like to reward younger drivers with lower premiums, but really they should be actively encouraging it rather than passively saying how nice it'd be. Carrot, stick, and all that.
It'd be good to see new drivers spending the money they're spending now on ballooning car insurance on, say, decent tyres. The line "I understeered lonely as a cloud" doesn't really have a ring to it...