Every single day in Britain there are serious car crashes, with thousands of people being killed or severely injured each year. As the third largest motor insurer in the UK, Ageas is only too aware of the impact of these crashes. We see the devastating effect on people involved, their friends and families, and all those who have to deal with the aftermath. While our customers can be confident that if they are in an accident, large or small, we will be there to support them, it would be wrong for us not to do what we can to reduce the chance of them being in a crash in the first place.
In 2014 we launched 'Making Road Safety Pay', a report that we commissioned from the Road Safety Foundation to provide a comprehensive view of road safety in Britain with recommendations that could be turned into practical actions to save lives and prevent serious injury. The response from the Government was very positive:
- the ‘Safe System’ approach was accepted and is central to the government’s Road Safety Strategy published in December 2015; The key principles underpinning and driving a safe system approach are that: people make mistakes; people have a limited tolerance to injuries and safety is a shared responsibility
- the Government’s Road Safety Strategy recognises that telematics insurance has broken new ground in rewarding safe driving behaviour;
- the case for Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard is advancing through results published by Euro NCAP and Thatcham Research in 2015;
- Highways England adopted an immediate goal that 90% of travel will be at 3-Star or better on its network by 2020, with further advances planned in the next Road Investment.
Even more pleasing was that the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, Robert Goodwill, was very supportive of our recommendation to create an Older Driver Task Force to prepare a National Older Driver Strategy. The emphasis was on the government and industry working together to ensure older drivers stay on the road and enjoy independent lives for as long as it is safe to do so.
Following 18 months of research and consultation, the Task Force, sponsored by Ageas, has launched its findings and recommendations.
7 key recommendations:
Analysing the latest international evidence, available technology and road safety schemes, the recommendations include:
- Requiring the DVLA to get evidence of an eyesight test at licence renewal.
- Raising the automatic requirement for drivers to notify the DVLA at age 70 of any medical condition affecting driving to 75 - if the requirement for an eye sight test is made compulsory.
- Asking a consumer body to prepare specific advice on modern car safety features that are of special significance for older drivers – and consider “silver” NCAP-style assessment.
- Improving road design, signs and markings to meet the highest international standards specifically to aid older drivers but bringing benefits for all drivers.
- Evaluating existing driving appraisal courses and improving information provided to older drivers, their families, and medical professionals.
- Piloting new products which offer an alternative to driving for older people.
- Pooling insurer data and research into major claims involving older drivers to understand the detailed causes.
As a leading insurer of older drivers, we’re keen to ensure the right measures are put in place for older drivers to stay safe on our roads. We know only too well the devastating effect of crashes, especially in some cases where older drivers have been involved. This report aims to do more than merely protect their safety, it also helps vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists of all ages whom we fear are more likely to be seriously injured by an older driver. We hope that the new report can make a real impact on the safety of our customers and by encouraging positive action that is supported by the Government.
The Government has already responded with Andrew Jones MP, Minister for Road Safety saying:
“Any death on the road is a tragedy and we are committed to improving road safety including exploring issues faced by older drivers. Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world and we must strike the right balance between safety and personal mobility and we will carefully consider the recommendations. Age on its own is not a barrier to safe driving. We keep the current rules under review which make clear all drivers must report any medical conditions which might affect their driving.”
About the Task Force
The Task Force comprised of more than 25 leading road safety experts and organisations in transport, health, policing, licensing, car manufacturing and insurance – including BIBA, the AA and Ageas. It was created to establish shared understanding across many disciplines. Split into three key working groups, it looked at the academic evidence base, the latest in vehicle, road and information technology and reviewed best practice examples of support and self-help schemes.