Standards drive 'may cut premiums'
Filed under: Motoring
Young people would see the cost of their car insurance slashed by a fifth, or around £370 a year, if the Government set new standards to turn them into safer drivers, insurers say.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that the way in which youngsters learn to drive is "not fit for purpose" and the body estimates that young drivers' premiums could be cut by up to 20% if standards were raised.
The ABI said that making younger people drive more safely is the "only way" that young drivers will be able to receive more affordable insurance.
It said that extra measures which would cut accident rates and therefore bring down insurance costs include introducing a one-year minimum learning period, limiting the number of young passengers that young drivers can carry and restricting night-time driving for a set period after the driving test.
The insurance body is also calling for a zero blood alcohol driving limit to be put in place for an initial period after someone has passed their test.
The ABI wants to see a "firm commitment" from Government to consult on changes to the driver training and testing regime and said similar restrictions have worked in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the ABI's figures, the average annual premium for a driver who is aged 17 or 18 years old is £1,853, meaning they could potentially save around £370 a year on their insurance.
The ABI said that 40% of 17-year-old men have an accident in their first six months of driving and the single biggest cause of accidental death of young people aged 15-24 is dying in a crash.
Otto Thoresen, the ABI's director general, said: "Sadly, young newly qualified drivers are at a much higher risk of having a serious crash on our roads which is reflected in the cost of their car insurance.
"Insurers want to see young drivers become safe drivers which in turn will result in more affordable premiums. If the Government implemented the ABI's proposals lives would be saved and the cost of car insurance for young drivers could reduce by 15-20%."