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Learning to drive is an anxious experience at the best of times.
As driving schools begin to reopen again, new social distancing measures and a backlog of tests means many young drivers will be set back for many more months. What impact will this have on driver safety?
In a blog post for Marmalade, the insurance company that specializes in new driver cover, novice driver Chloe Martell wrote: “This is a super exciting time and for many learners long-awaited – they can finally get back to learning to drive and preparing for their driving test when they can be taken again. For some learners, however, this is a really nerve-wracking time and the thought of driving again can almost seem like you're preparing for that first driving lesson all over again."
For new drivers, the lack of lessons and ongoing social distancing measures add to the existing pressure they already face. Insurance costs for new drivers is prohibitively expensive, often much more than the cost of the car itself. Many new drivers end up driving older, less safe vehicles as a result.
Social distancing and lockdown measures are keeping older vehicles that may need to be retired on the road longer.
From an insurer's perspective, they have good reason to charge new drivers a premium: according to research by insurance broker ALA, one in five new motorists in the UK crash within the first year of passing their test. They also account for 18% of all accidents on the road, even though they only drive 5% of the total miles. And it costs the UK government £2.9 billion ($3.6bn) every year to try and prevent young driver accidents, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
Young men are particularly risky and account for three-quarters of all young driver fatalities says the DfT. It's a combination of bravado, risk taking and over confidence. And with little experience, that's a dangerous mix.
Some insurance companies provide new drivers with “black boxes" to try and encourage better driving behaviour. These telematics-style devices analyze their driving styles and adjust their premiums accordingly, rewarding good driving and penalising those that are reckless. They also allow drivers to learn from their trips, but this technology doesn't prevent them getting into a crash or dangerous situation in the first place. The same goes for dashcams.
In vehicle technology is providing more insight for both insurers and drivers to manage the overall cost of car ownership.
These days, the very latest, top-end cars, are equipped with active safety technology that warns its driver of unseen peril on the road, but this is out of the reach for many new drivers.
However, a new breakthrough technology could help young drivers stay safe on the road and minimize the cost of cover.
Dreyev is a new driver app that uses HERE's Live Sense SDK to warn drivers of hidden danger on the road. The system is designed to mitigate distracted and drowsy driving, and will warn the driver of other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists within their vicinity, as well as hazards such as potholes and constructions sites. It will also train drivers, acting like a virtual driving instructor that helps provide remote training and monitoring on the fly.
The best bit is it can be used on any car, regardless of its age. All the driver needs is a smartphone or other device that has a front and rear-ward facing camera with adequate processing capabilities.
Using a forward facing camera mounted device with dreyev's app and integration of Live Sense SDK can act as an additional set of eyes on the road for new learners and instructors.
Dr Maggie Styś, CEO and co-founder, of dreyev, said: “With new drivers, you can evaluate them, as they undergo training. As a trainer, you could sit in for a trip or two. After that, you essentially hope that everything goes well, since you don't really have a way of checking how they are doing. With telematics-based services and the ability to collect data, you can at least extract information about their driving style. But it still doesn't tell you the whole story."
“We see a big transformation coming to the insurance industry, perhaps even a fundamentally new way to price and underwrite risk. Having the real-time data we generate is definitely going to be useful to insurers to realize their growth potential. Loss prevention is, as we like to say, the big elephant in the room. It is definitely something that would also help insurance companies lower their risk."
This technology is already in market. Particularly in the case of young drivers, during the first year of driving experience, dreyev allows parents to “keep an eye" on their progress as they hone their driving skills, in real time.
If insurance companies made this technology available to new drivers through an app or dashcam, for example, it could make driving safer, more affordable and help alleviate the burden that these drivers pose to their bottom lines.
Find out more about Live Sense SDK and how it could revolutionize the way your customers drive.