Ben HaywardSeptember 13th
2020

Over half - 53% - of the UK’s 17-25-year-old drivers are being put under pressure to drive faster by other motorists, a new report has revealed. 

Beyond the Box, from Co-op Insurance gave over 24,000 of Co-op’s young drivers the opportunity to share their driving experiences, along with 4000 UK motorists of all ages - and the results were shocking. 

80% of young motorists have experienced another vehicle driving too close to them, 72% have been subject to a driver overtaking them when it wasn’t safe to do so and 43% have been on the receiving end of rude hand gestures.

The five most common negative experiences the young drivers reported are:

  • 4 in 5 (80%) have had other motorists driving too close to them

  • 3 in 4 (72%) have been overtaken when it wasn’t safe to do so

  • 2 in 5 (43%) have been on the receiving end of rude hand gestures

  • 1 in 4 (27%) have been shouted at by another driver

  • 1 in 5 (21%) have felt pressured to pull out at a junction when it wasn’t safe

As a result, a quarter (24%) physically feel unsafe when they drive and 23% feel anxious.

Highlighting the extent of the challenge facing young drivers, 35% of motorists aged 26 and over say they are not mindful of others on the roads, 86% often get frustrated by other road users.

Almost half (48%) admit to sounding their horns when angry - despite this being against the law, while 26% have sworn at another motorist.

When asked what would help young drivers feel safer on the roads, over two thirds (69%) said they wished other motorists knew they were driving with a black box and so must drive responsibly.

This holds true as the research found that four fifths (80%) of motorists are aware of black boxes, yet nothing currently exists to indicate if a motorist is driving with telematics.

Therefore, in response to the findings, Co-op Insurance has launched a nationwide pilot of a pioneering concept, the “T-plate”. A new solution, backed by road safety charity Brake and RED driving school, to help young drivers feel safer on the road.

The plate, similar in look to an ‘L’ or a ‘P’ plate will indicate to other road users that the vehicle is fitted with a black box and so that driver will be driving safely, to the speed limit and in line with the law - something that every driver should do, regardless of the type of insurance cover they have.

Charles Offord, Managing Director of Co-op Insurance said: “It’s unacceptable that so many young drivers are feeling pressured by others on the roads. Ultimately, every driver should be adhering to speed limits and driving in line with the law, but we know that isn’t always the case.

“Instead of being role-models, too many older drivers are exacerbating what is already a testing time for new and less-experienced road users.

“Drivers with black boxes will see their insurance premiums increase, or in some extreme cases, their policies cancelled if they don’t drive as they should. 

Yet, currently it’s impossible for other motorists to know if another vehicle has a black box fitted. Young drivers want other motorists to understand this and that’s why we’re launching the T-plate.”

When asked, three fifths (60%) of Co-op’s young drivers said the T-plate would make them feel less pressured, nearly half (47%) believe it would change the way other motorists drive around them and just under a fifth (18%) said it would make them feel more confident when driving.

From today, hundreds of Co-op’s young drivers will trial the T-plate and based on their feedback, the insurer will roll out thousands more in the coming months.

James Doyle, one of Co-op’s young drivers said: “After months of learning I was so happy to finally be able to drive by myself. What I wasn’t prepared for was the pressure I would feel from other drivers wanting me to go faster. At times I’ve even had to pull over to regain my confidence. I just wish that other drivers understood how their driving makes me feel.”

In addition to those involved in the pilot, all Co-op’s young drivers can also order a T-plate here: https://www.co-opinsurance.co.uk/hub/Tplate/

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