The government has carried out a bit of research and found, unsurprisingly, that young drivers are “disillusioned” with the car insurance industry, believing it to be "greedy and corrupt". Young and newly-qualified drivers generally pay more than anyone else for car insurance because the stats show they’re more likely to be involved in an accident compared to the rest of us. It’s something the government is now looking to change, with a Green Paper outlining options to make driving safer for younger motorists. The options include more rigorous training and testing, as well as restrictions on how they can drive once they pass – such as limiting the number of passengers they are allowed to carry. As part of this research, the Department for Transport has been talking to young drivers through a series of focus groups to find out how they feel about driving in the UK – covering everything from learning to testing and the cost of insurance. Here’s what they found.
Generally, the research found that young drivers feel pretty negative about it all. Though they’re keen to pass their tests at first (especially lads), the elation of passing the test is quickly dampened by the high cost of motoring. The report, which you can see for yourself here, said young drivers feel “victimised for being perceived as less able.” The focus groups also told the government they felt disillusioned with the insurance industry and “frustrated about what they see to be an illogical unfair process.” Interestingly, the report said young drivers themselves felt the driving test as it stands is artificial, and that the learning process really only starts once you've passed your test and hit the road. The members of the focus groups generally accepted that they were more risky to insurers as a whole, but didn’t want to be tarred with the ‘boy racers’ brush. The report went so far as to say they felt resentful that the majority were penalised for the bad behaviour of the minority. Young drivers tend to take a rather dim view of insurers themselves, calling the industry “greedy and corrupt”. They say there’s nothing motivating insurers to bring costs down and that the government should take action to change this. One suggestion was that everyone’s premiums should start at a certain level and only increase if they make a claim.
No to restrictions
When questioned about restrictions being placed on their driving, the majority of respondents weren't keen on the idea. They felt telematics or black box insurance products were unnecessarily restrictive and expressed concerns about surveillance, data security, privacy and the fallibility of the technology. The focus groups universally rejected the idea of restrictions on night-time driving for practical and social reasons. Parents of young drivers were also interviewed as part of the research and said they preferred their children to drive rather than take public transport after dark. The idea of ‘graduated licensing’, with different levels of basic and advanced testing and restrictions on engine size, was also completely rejected, as was reducing the driving age to 16 for theoretical training. The full details of the research will be published in the government’s Green paper later in the spring, but the initial message is pretty clear cut. Young drivers feel like they’re paying too much for insurance and are generally cynical about insurers and the government.