The maker of a black box used has revealed that it collates the average speed of its users – and drivers could be penalised by insurance companies for travelling faster than others along a road, even if it’s well below the speed limit.
Telematics firm Quartix says that experienced drivers are often aware that it’s not safe to travel at 60mph on single carriageway national speed limit (NSL) roads – but younger drivers are taught to reach the limit where possible. This means many inexperienced motorists drive faster than is safe on rural roads with poor lighting and sharp bends.
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Its black box, which is used by a number of insurance companies, applies a ‘contextual speed score’ based on how fast a car travels along a road compared to the average driver. On some main roads with a 60mph limit, the average speed in free-flowing conditions is as low as 40mph. This means drivers might be marked as a hazard despite travelling well below the speed limit.
“We’ve now insured around 4,500 drivers whose vehicles are fitted with Quartix devices,” said Jae Pearce, director of Sky Insurance Brokers. “Every time a young driver goes above the average free-flow speed we call them to discuss their driving style and remind them about how to be safe.
“The first two thousand miles of a young driver’s career are the most dangerous, accounting for 80% of all claims. But we believe this new technology based on the average flow rate of rural roads rather than the technical speed limit is genuinely saving lives.
“Since we’ve been using contextual speed scoring we’ve had no serious accidents.”
Young drivers are finding it increasingly difficult to insure their car, with average premiums increasing five times faster than inflation over the last year. With insurance companies offering tempting discounts for fitting black box devices – which monitor speed, the times you drive as well as cornering and braking forces – the telematics devices are increasing in popularity.