Road Safety News

IAM calls for an end to young drivers’ ‘highway robbery’

Thursday 27th September 2012

With the cost of learning to drive greater than the average income of young people, the IAM is urging insurance companies to respond to fluctuations in earnings and reward safer drivers with more affordable insurance premiums.

The IAM uses evidence from a popular price comparison website where the cheapest insurance quote available to a 17-year-old male driver in full-time employment is £7,868.38. The cheapest quote with a telematics box is £4, 464.69.

The IAM says that in 2009 the average full-time salary for 16-17 year olds was £9,300, but that this has since fallen by 9%, while the cost of learning to drive has not altered.

The IAM puts the average total cost of learning to drive and the first year’s motoring at £12,345.23. This includes £3,000 to purchase a car, licence and theory and practical driving tests, driving lessons, fuel, maintenance and car tax, and insurance.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “The expense of learning to drive may affect young people’s chances of getting a job, especially in rural areas where it is essential to get to work, creating a vicious cycle.

“The challenge faced by the Government, insurance companies and road safety experts is striking a balance between much-needed experience and manageable costs.

“The IAM is calling for insurance companies to be prepared to respond to fluctuations in earnings, and recognise the value of post-test driver training by rewarding safer drivers with more affordable insurance premiums. It is important for young drivers to do their research and shop around when buying insurance.”

For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.


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If young people are prepared to spend a large amount of money in order to fund driving lessons, test etc, then surely they wouldn't object to being limited to a maximum of say, 1100cc engine, for the first two years of their driving lives? Then they could actually learn to drive and have more control over a motor vehicle safely, thus reducing the risk to themselves and other road users.
E.McGirr, Livingston.

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

Most young drivers are paying too much relative to their own level of risk - the key challenge is for insurers to be able to identify the high risk drivers and charge a high premium which they then may be able to reduce by improving their behaviour - hopefully telematic boxes will help achieve this.
Dr James Whalen DSA ADI (car), Wolverhampton

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

I believe that it is time for young drivers to pay the insurance premiums that accurately reflect their road risk. For years they have been subsidised by older, safer drivers. I no longer wish to pay inflated sums so that young drivers can access the road without paying the price for their poor driving standards.
David, Suffolk

Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

A whole generation with poor employment prospects now have to accept that they can't drive a car in the near future either. Come on insurers, the Government - pull your fingers out.
Dave, Sheffield

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

I feel this is very misleading, the cost of learning to drive is low compared to the insurance. Learning to drive is likely to cost about £1,500 (including tests and licence application and about 50 hours of tuition) which is nowhere near the cost of post-test insurance.
Ian Edwards - Doncaster

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

When I looked at "spy box" insurance quotes, they were not cheaper. Spy box quotes were only for limited mileage.

Young drivers today will not be worse than when my generation were young, it's just that all insurance has gone through the roof so we need to tackle the cause, not the symptoms (I must sound like a broken record saying that).

The cause seems mainly to be huge payouts for injuries combined with massive levels of fraud.

Why should we all, but young people in particular, be forced to fund this fraud?

Change the law and stop the fraud!
Dave Finney - Slough

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

It's great to see that a safe driver with a black box can get a cheaper deal. But let's just hang on a minute - whilst accepting that the worlds of acturial risk and road safety risk are very different - it does seem strange that a crash free year is "rewarded" by a bill of over £4,000. This suggests that the safe are overpaying (self evidently as they have caused no loss) and the unsafe are underpaying. As commercial forces are at work I'm not sure what can be done about this, but I'm convinced that the total bill for all would come down if black boxes were mandatory. This would create a more competitive insurance market place.
pete, liverpool

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

The cost of driving is affecting young people's decisions regarding learning to drive - I hope that telematic boxes lead insurance companies to reward the majority of young drivers who are doing things properly and can prove this via the technology.
Dr James Whalen DSA ADI (car), Wolverhampton

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)