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Motoring law: Satellite boxes may become law to make driving safer

New 'in-car' devices based on satellite technology have demonstrated a significant reduction in accidents among users, and may prompt a change in the law in future to make roads safer according to one of the country's largest insurers.

Telematics or black-box insurance uses a device which tracks the car, monitoring driver behaviour including braking and acceleration. The device also records braking, cornering, speed and what time of day the car is driven.

The data collected by the devices can then be used by companies to calculate the appropriate insurance premium based on usage but crucially also the quality of the driving itself.

Co-operative Insurance has used the devices to monitor the driving of 10,000 customers aged 17 to 25. They have found that those willing to have the device fitted were up to 20% less likely to have an accident, and if they did would post a claim some 30% less than an ordinary customer.

Young drivers have faced large increases in premiums in the past two years. Premiums for middle-aged men have gone up 6% since April 2010, but for youngsters and newly-qualified drivers they have increased by 40%. Men in the 23 to 29 bracket have seen rises of over a third.

Premiums are on the up, not because of the number of accidents, but because the size of claims is increasing. Ian Crowder is a spokesman for the AA.

"[Rising premiums are] predominantly because of the size of claims, as opposed to frequency," he said.

"Accidents involving younger drivers, particularly men, are more likely to result in death or serious injury," he added.

Other insurers are now following suit, in a move which could revolutionise the way insurance is sold in future, with some predicting that the law could change if accident prevention statistics remain as significant.

The AA say it is too early to see if their own telematics insurance would see the same reduction in premiums, but says it believes that those willing to accept the new technology are likely to be the better drivers.

Related links:

Read more on the story (The Guardian)

Uninsured driving (FindLaw)

Find a motoring solicitor near you (FindLaw)