Norwich Union warns businesses to check the competence of young drivers

Article date: 21 February 2008

Crashes and insurance claims among young drivers are a bigger risk than ever for companies, says Norwich Union. 

The warning comes following research conducted by the insurer that crash rates among young drivers are worsening and that claims by drivers under the age of 23 have increased by more than 300% in the last five years. Meanwhile claims among drivers over 23 fell by 10% during the same time period.

Norwich Union's motor risk manager, Bill Pownall, says: "We know from experience that young drivers pose a higher risk of being involved in a crash. 

"Our research of 1,250 young drivers1 shows that post driving test, over half (55%) of young drivers say they felt comfortable soon after they passed and 17% felt nervous and anxious about driving on their own following the test.

"In the beginning, level of comfort amongst young drivers is high, but the reality is they are still inexperienced drivers.

"Businesses should therefore consider the risks that young drivers pose on a firm's duty of care, especially with the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act come April.

 "Although some firms have a minimum age requirement of 25 when driving on company business, others can be as low as 21.

 "Businesses should therefore consider introducing the minimum driving age of 25 should the driver fail to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence when driving or failing to drive safely following a thorough risk assessment.

"It's imperative for young drivers to undertake a complete in-vehicle practical risk assessment in order to determine the person's competence prior to driving any vehicle for the first time.

"Firms should consider examining young drivers' awareness of UK traffic law and all drivers will benefit from a PASS PLUS course as soon as practical after they pass their driving test.

"A telematics-enabled product2 can provide the tools to help fleet managers monitor their drivers performance, allowing early interventions where practical by identifying unsafe driver behaviour before a crash occurs. This type of information can also be used to support post crash learning.

"Businesses should also apply some common sense when allocating vehicles to young and inexperienced drivers, considering the engine size along with the brake horsepower.

"The organisation could be liable for prosecution if they've failed to adequately risk assess the individual and provide a realistic induction period for any employee driving on company business - irrespective of their age."

"Should a crash occur in the first year of driving, companies should investigate the circumstances carefully to establish the facts to prevent recurrence." 

-ends-

For further information, please contact:
Sam Bramwell at Staniforth on 0161 919 8024/077381 96667 or Erik Nelson/Adam Cracknell at Norwich Union on 01603 682 264/ 07989 427 086.

Notes to editors:

Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers.  FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

1 Norwich Union Road Age report 2007

2 Such as Norwich Union's Fleetwise Care

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