Carrot Insurance has teamed up with RoadHow, a new, app-based, AI-powered driver coaching platform, to offer all of its customers access to a free smartphone app that will help them improve their road knowledge once they have passed their test and plug any potential gaps in their learning journey.
Together, the companies are hoping to reduce the risk of novice drivers being involved in an accident during their crucial first six months on the road, when collision risk is statistically at its highest.
Around 420,000 learner drivers are currently sat in a backlog following the resumption of tests on 22 April. Norrie Erwin, managing director of Carrot, which insures thousands of newly qualified drivers each year, said he is worried that a wave of under-experienced drivers on Britain’s roads could result in a spike in accidents.
He said: “It has been a very tough ride for the Covid generation of young people, and we are concerned that for many, not only has there been a big gap between taking their theory test and their practical test, but there’s also a high probability they’ve spent less time behind the wheel honing their roadcraft in the run-up to getting their pass certificate.”
He explained that driving instructors have had restricted opportunity to coach learners during the last twelve months, and parents have been reluctant to take their children out for practice drives, given lockdown stay-at-home orders. Erwin said: “The normal run of lessons and practice opportunities available to learner drivers has been severely curtailed, and worryingly this is bound to have a knock-on effect.”
Official statistics show that around 750,000 new driving licences are issued by the DVLA each year, and there are one million tests taken in all. Approximately 66% of new licences are issued to 17 to 24 year olds.
Erwin said: “Including the backlog, there will be as many as one million inexperienced drivers on British roads by the time we reach the end of 2021. We’re obviously excited that tests have resumed, freedom of movement is returning, and our business can kick on looking after our young driver customers, but accidents are something we all want to avoid.”
Adrian Ryan, chief executive officer and founder of RoadHow, commented: “We feel like we’re launching at exactly the right time, and making our app available to Carrot’s customers for free is something we’re delighted to do. In choosing telematics-based insurance, like Carrot, and self-selecting to use the RoadHow app, drivers can demonstrate that they are doing all they can to be as safe and responsible as possible, and in turn reduce accidents. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Erwin noted that according to Carrot’s telematics data, average miles driven by 17 to 24 year olds during April was back up to pre-Covid levels: “Our customers aren’t taking so many journeys by car, but the journeys are longer, and we have noticed a slight change in time of day. During April there was an uptick in journeys made during the middle of the day, and not so much in traditional commuting hours. However, we won’t know whether this is a lasting trend until we’ve seen a few weeks’ more data, and some sense of the ‘new normal’ taking shape.”