With over a million cars being fitted with telematics boxes, also known as black boxes, by insurance companies, there is now plenty of data which shows exactly how British motorists are driving and can help people to think of ways to make the roads safer for all who use them.

What do they do and who uses them?

Billions of miles have been travelled by cars fitted with a telematics device over the last decade and they can gather data on a variety of factors including speed, cornering, braking and accelerating, plus pinpoint the type of road that the individual is driving on.

These boxes have predominantly been used by new drivers in a bid to prove that they are sensible behind the wheel so that their insurance premiums go down over time, but people of all ages and experience can have one fitted in their vehicle.

Britain’s largest telematics insurance provider, Insurethebox, has gathered 3 billion miles worth of driving data and associated claims since 2010, and along with similar providers Marmalade and Coverbox they have shared this to reveal information about the “real driving habits” of British motorists.

Evidence that has been gathered

The data has shown that 17-year-old drivers who have just started their driving experience are actually safer than 18 and 19-year-olds who have held their licenses for a bit longer. This could be because new drivers are still getting used to driving and are being more cautious, whereas those who are slightly older have had time to gain confidence which is why their driving deteriorates over the age of 18.

Those with 2 – 3 years of driving experience under their belt are the worst speeding offenders, whereas 17-year-olds actually drive at a relatively modest speed.

The difference between how males and females drive has always been a hot topic of conversation, and black boxes have supported the myth that women drive more carefully, at lower speeds, and have fewer accidents than men. Their average claim also costs less at £2345 compared to £2566 but, due to EU rules, insurance companies aren’t allowed to base their quotes on gender like they used to.

Conclusions

The most dangerous road type for young drivers are country roads with a 60mph speed limit as it is often not safe to drive anywhere close to 60mph but a lack of experience means that this is not always understood. With narrow lanes, blind corners and slow-moving vehicles to contend with these roads are actually more dangerous than the motorways that so many new drivers are scared to use.

Gov.uk data has shown that 80% of young driver fatalities occur on rural roads so it is important that those new to driving understand that just because the road signs show 60mph it doesn’t mean that it is safe to drive at that speed.

It has also been found that a driver’s behaviour leading up to an accident is often erratic from the moment that they leave the house. This suggests that if people have had an argument or are feeling frustrated when they get into their vehicle it could have a negative effect on their driving which results in them having an accident.

Getting a quote

Occupation is also taken into consideration when working out insurance quotes, and telematics data has supported this by showing that motor racing drivers and funfair employees are among the most risky drivers whereas NHS workers are among the safest on the roads. It was also found that gamers are relatively safe drivers whereas those who read as a hobby are often more risky.

As well as providing an interesting insight into “real driving habits” black boxes can save young drivers up to 37% on their car insurance if they drive carefully and follow the laws of the roads, and 40% of new motorists are already taking advantage of this in a bid to reduce their insurance premium.

(Image credit – InsureTheBox)

Would you be willing to have a black box fitted to monitor your driving behaviour and iron out any bad habits? Let us know in the comments below.

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