Young drivers’ cars should be fitted with cameras and the footage of their behaviour behind the wheel shared with their parents in a bid to cut accident rates, a new road safety report said.
Studies in America have found that a combined use of dash cams and ‘accelerometers’ – which record the high G-forces created when a car is driven erratically or dangerously – reduces bad driving, if young novices know the information will be shared with their mum and dad.
The RAC Foundation said this form of ‘constant parental presence, delivered through technology’ has been shown to ‘moderate risky behaviour behind the wheel’.
Big Brother tactics: A new road safety report has suggested that young drivers would be a lesser risk if their behaviour at the wheel was monitored and shared with parents
In the transport organisation’s new report, Keeping Young Drivers Safe During Early Licensure, Dr Bruce Simons-Morton from the Institute of Child Health and Human Development said interior cameras should be used during the initial months – and even years – of young motorists passing their test.
He believes the Big Brother impact of having every move recorded will moderate their behaviour behind the wheel for fear of losing their freedom and privileges, especially as it’s usually the parents who have paid for the vehicle and are covering their running costs.
The RAC Foundation said such technology would help newly qualified motorists avoid the Catch-22 dilemma of having to drive more often to gain experience but do so independently – all the while limiting the risk to themselves and other road users.
According to official data, a quarter (25 per cent) of people killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads between 2013 and 2015 were in collisions that involved a younger driver (17-24 years old), even though this group accounted for just seven per cent of full driving licence holders.
‘Like any skill, driving takes practice to improve, however, there is also evidence that whilst new young drivers can drive relatively safely when they are accompanied by their parents or other adults, they undertake more risky behaviour when that adult figure is absent,’ the motoring group said.
‘This inclination to ‘elect’ to drive more carelessly is compounded by young drivers tendency to be easily distracted by things such as making and taking calls on a mobile, texting and the presence of young passengers,’ it added.
The RAC Foundation said young drivers have found to be more careless at the wheel but also more easily distracted by their devices that older motorists
It’s for this reason that the use of tracking ‘telematics’ technology in cars has become an increasingly common trend in the insurance sector in recent years.
Telematics policies offer lower premiums to new drivers, though under the premise that their actions are tracked and monitored to ensure they’e safe.
This has helped younger motorists in particular, who face astronomically expensive traditional car insurance for the first few years on the road.
An average 17-year-old is quoted £2,047 for annual cover, according to Confused.com’s insurance index.
However, a telematics policy could reduce premiums by around £500.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Whilst teenagers may baulk at the idea of mum and dad effectively supervising their every trip, a constant parental presence, delivered through technology, has been shown to moderate risky behaviour behind the wheel.
‘Every parent of a young driver wants their child to drive safely without having to be in the car themselves, but through ‘black box’ telematics and dash cam technology virtual supervision can have a big impact.’
And telematics policies aren’t only available to new drivers, as more providers are willing to reduce premiums if experienced motorists are willing to have their driving monitored.
Dr Bruce Simons-Morton from the Institute of Child Health and Human Development said interior cameras should be used during the initial months of young motorists passing their test
New research highlighted last week that eight out of ten drivers didn’t know they can benefit by allowing these black-box gadgets in their cars – which are found to offer average annual savings on premiums of £200 across all motorists.
As part of the RAC Foundation’s report, Dr Simons-Morten also added that there was international evidence to support the introduction of a Graduated Driving Licence (GDL) scheme, which ministers are in discussions about currently.
Under GDL drivers might need to complete a minimum learning period before they sit their test, and after they pass their test might face time-limited restrictions so that they can gain vital experience as safely as possible.
The restrictions could prohibit driving at night and with young passengers in the car.
In the Road Safety Statement 2019 published in July, ministers promised to explore GDL further, stating: ‘Our goal is to discover more and conduct research on what effect different forms of GDL would have in the UK to help young people deal with any restrictions, and keep them, their passengers and other road users safe.’
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