Car insurers want a night driving curfew and a zero-alcohol limit on young drivers.
Insurers reckon keeping young drivers at home between 11pm and 4am will cut deaths and injuries in serious road accidents.
Road safety minister Mike Penning won’t entertain the ideas because any restrictions would be unfair on young drivers who rely on their cars to get to work and college.
The Insurance Blogger can see both sides of the argument – road accident statistics support the opinion of the car insurers.
Two people die and 16 people are injured in road crashes involving drivers under 25 every day, while 25% of people killed or seriously injured in a road crash is a young driver or one of their passengers, although only one in eight of drivers are aged under 25, said the Association of British Insurers.
Nevertheless, the call by the ABI is worrying.
It’s not for insurance companies to restrict the liberties of free individuals by law. They can choose to make their products restrictive as long as they do not breach equality and discrimination rules, but they are not elected MPs.
Secondly, the Insurance Blogger is a cynic and suspects that the call is not entirely altruistic but involves profits as well.
One of the big problems with car insurance is that every driver must take out insurance by law, but the government does not control the cost and features of policies beyond setting a minimum standard of third party, fire and theft cover.
It seems incongruous that car insurance companies have held a monopoly for the best part of a century but everyone else has to suffer because they have failed to manage their businesses so they can pay shareholders a reasonable dividend recently.
Nick Starling. the ABI’s director of general insurance, said: “Ministers need to worry less about losing votes from young people and start taking seriously the threat young drivers pose to themselves, their passengers and other drivers.
“Both this government and its predecessor have talked a good game on young drivers but have failed to grasp real reform, with the result that claims have continued to rise and costs of insurance for young drivers have become too high. Insurers are exploring black-box technology to help bring down costs for young drivers, but we can’t do this on our own.”
Perhaps the insurers need to worry less about those dividends for shareholders and start taking a fair deal for drivers more seriously.