Raising Driving Standards in Young Drivers

Young people who have passed their exams and earned their full driving licenses are understandably excited to hit the road to enjoy their newfound freedom. Ah, not so fast, there, kids: before you pull out onto the blacktop, you are legally required to secure car insurance. The good news is, because you’re new, you haven’t any marks against your driving record. The bad news is, because you’re new, you’re an unknown quantity in the eyes of insurance companies, and therefore, a high risk. And, oh, how dearly new drivers pay for that perceived high risk. What can be done to get cheap car insurance for young drivers? One method currently available is a simple task--study up!

Lessons Lower Risk

Taking additional driving lessons often results in the granting of discounted rates by insurance companies. In a moment, a look at some of the lessons that can help bring those rates down. But first, a word of caution: if you hope to take advantage of these offers, you’d best jump on them quickly, as the laws regarding driving lessons may soon be changing.

The Green Paper published in March of this year by the government’s Department of Transport outlines transportation situations across the nation to be addressed. It includes proposals for improving the driving statistics of younger drivers--meaning, those under the age of 25--since a great many dangers and costs are associated with less experienced motorists. The paper suggests making mandatory driving modules that are presently optional.

Voluntary participation in supplementary modules has proven successful in lowering accident and mortality rates, along with repair costs. Studies show that augmenting basic driving courses, which are primarily intended to prepare students for the Theory and Practical Exams, with participation in safe driving courses that more deeply explore the dangers drivers face cuts the mortality rate of youthful drivers 40% to over 50%. This exciting statistic is what drives insurance companies to reward young people who take such classes with lower rates.

This is also the reason behind the impetus to change UK law to make participation in additional classes mandatory. Public and organizational support championing this Green Paper is extremely high. The Association of British Insurers says it foresees the ability to slash insurance rates by about 20% for young drivers if all of the proposed requirements of the Green Paper are adopted. **

So, while MPs review the paper and go through the process of turning suggestions into law, a little window of time yet exists for young drivers to act before new legislation passes.

Types of Classes to Take

The benefit of better driving is not gained by repeating the basic lessons, but building on those fundamentals with classes that focus in on specific areas of concern. Good lessons to take include modules on managing junctions, performing turns and navigating slaloms, driving in two-way traffic, managing roundabouts, properly following traffic signals, driving in the city, parking maneuvers (bay parking, reverse, etc.), driving in out-of-town or rural areas (where young people are statistically twice as predisposed to have accidents), driving at night, driving in a variety of weather conditions and driving skills for the motorway.

Additional safety module classes such as these are available through a number of outlets, including:

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has devised courses for drivers of automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles. For automobile drivers, IAM offers an assessment intake to determine your strengths and weaknesses; an advance driving course called Skill For Life, and mini-modules that review specific aspects inherent with driving, including being a solo driver in a car, dealing with distractions, tackling winter driving and more.

The Automobile Association Limited offers four different courses to boost driving skills. One is the government’s Pass Plus program; the other three are Drive Smart, Drive Confident and a Motorway Driving module.

New Rules Will Likely Be More Restrictive

Additional suggestions in the Green Paper include ignition locks secured by breath alcohol testers to maintain a zero-alcohol tolerance policy, nighttime driving curfews, limits on number and ages of passengers in vehicles driving by young drivers and requirements for the completion of a full year of instruction prior to taking the practical exam.

Until any new laws come into place it’s up to drivers themselves to take advantage of classes that could give them cheaper car insurance by reducing their rates between 5% and 20% or even more, depending on th insurance company.

Accident Compenstion