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Carrots, not sticks, in the fight to create better drivers

It has long been agreed that incentives are an effective method for behavioural change – the whole more carrot, less stick approach – and this may be fine if you are teaching a puppy not to bark at the postman, but how does it work in life or death situations. How does it work in the realm of road safety?

We're talking about how to get young drivers, and drivers with very little experience, to remember that when they're behind the wheel of a car, their trip to the local cinema can quickly become a life or death experience.

The statistics just don't lie – young drivers are very much more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers aged 25 and over. And for this reason, car insurance is priced highly for young drivers – stick number one.

While early telematics insurers argued that their black box car insurance products could be seen to be incentivising young drivers, there were some parties who felt they still used unnecessary restrictions to help keep young drivers from having too much freedom – stick number two.

Even the Government can't decide

In March 2013 plans for a green paper were unveiled by the Government in which the Department for Transport said it would look at ways of "improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers". But, in January 2014, it was announced that the discussion would be put on hold indefinitely.

Many interested parties felt that the original proposals to be debated were just too many sticks. It had been proposed that:

  • candidates for a driving test should have a minimum learning period (not that the DfT said what that period should be – but it would probably have meant the end of intensive driving courses followed immediately by a practical test)
  • newly qualified drivers would have their probationary period (the time during which their licence could be revoked if they received six or more penalty points) lengthened from two to three years
  • the driving test would be made more rigorous
  • temporary restrictions, such as curfews and the banning of young passengers, for newly qualified drivers (although these were never formally published).

All in all, the green paper looked like an awful lot of sticks and too few carrots, which seemed, it appeared to many, merely a method for the further alienation of young drivers and a means to tar them all with the same brush.

Coverbox and carrots

In the field of telematics and black box car insurance, the Coverbox main incentive, our proverbial carrot, is cheaper car insurance. We don't use sticks – automatic penalties, curfews, limited mileage – we just let you drive.

Yes, we require that you have a black box fitted in your car and, yes, we will collect driving data about the journeys your car makes, but your driving score will only ever be looked at, by us, at renewal time, if your car is stolen or if you are involved in a claim..

And here's the biggest carrot of all – the better the driving score (the more positively you have driven) the cheaper the car insurance quote for the next year.

Black box car insurance has evolved.

Get a quote today with Coverbox.