Data recorders to monitor behaviour of young drivers and lower car insurance premiums

12 Aug 2019

Younger drivers have often been blamed for pushing up car insurance premiums due to their significantly higher crash rates, but that could be about to change as drivers aged 18 to 21 will soon have their behaviour monitored by a data recorder.  

The Federal Traffic Council recently announced proposals to install a “control device” in cars driven by young people during the two-year window after they have passed their tests and acquired a driving licence. The installation of a data recorder will be mandatory, according to the new legislation.

“There are monitoring devices (GPS tracker etc.) which can alert and register the driving errors, such as sudden swerving, speeding, not maintaining safe distance between cars and a hard brake,” Emirates Driving Institute’s Operations Manager Abdul Razak told the Khaleej Timesin July.

Razak believes that the vehicles used in driving lessons may play a role in the increased likelihood of accidents involving young drivers. This is because they train with a smaller 1.6-litre engine vehicle and often graduate to a much larger car after earning their licence, which leads to a change in their driving behaviour.

He also hailed the measures being drawn up to rein in the erratic behaviour. Razak noted: “If a control device can address the common mistakes the youngsters commit, it will save lives, money, time, and give their parents peace of mind. It is both exciting yet frightening experience for the parents when their child passes the driving test.”

The new proposals follow the release of a report by the Ministry of Interior showing that young drivers aged 18 to 30 are now causing 45% of the UAE’s road accidents. A two-year stint using a tracking device will not only reduce that alarming rate but also cut future insurance premiums, according to experts. 

“Better and safer drivers reduce the risk of accidents and over time this will be factored into motor insurance premiums, which are calculated on the basis of the risk of each driver,” Qatar Insurance’s Regional Vice President Frederik Bisbjerg said back in 2017.

He added: “We already take the number of years a driver has driven in UAE with no accidents into consideration when calculating the insurance premium and safer driving behaviour is rewarded with lower premiums.”

RoadSafetyUAE founder Thomas Edelmann says that the use of cutting-edge technology can play a major role in ensuring that rules and regulations are adhered to while also controlling them stringently. He also recommended a three-year extension to the initial two-year “probation” period for young drivers.

He said: “Novice drivers should not only be observed by black boxes. When it comes to traffic fines, they must only be allowed to drive vehicles up to a certain horsepower/performance/vehicle type.”

The use of black boxes to track and reward good behaviour is winning support across the industry. RoadsLink’s Business Development Manager Ian Littlefield said that lower insurance premiums, public recognition and personalised offers and vouchers should be issued for those who drive safely and follow rules on the road.