The Need for Speed…Insurance Implications of the new Driving Penalties

speeding fines and insurance

As Simon & Garfunkel once sang: “Slow down, you’re moving too fast.”

And while they were trying to make the morning last and feel a bit groovy, it also happens to be the sentiment behind new driving legislation which has, somewhat literally, hit the streets of England and Wales.

Taking effect from Monday 24th April, the legislation has come into force as a means to address what’s seen as an increase in reckless driving and excessive, dangerous speeds on the UK highways and byways.

In a nutshell, this means magistrates having greater power to impose considerably heftier fines for those who come before them charged with driving at speeds well in excess of the limits. Fines that can reach as much as 150% of an offender’s weekly salary.

So, if you happen to be earning £530 per week (roughly the average UK salary) then you might expect to be fined £795 if you’re caught doing up to double the speed limit on any given road. Things get a little more eye-watering if you happen to be a Premier League footballer!

Insurance Implications?

Clearly, the first thought when it comes to insurance is the prospect of some hefty hikes in the policies of those who suddenly find themselves very much on the wrong side of the highway code.

Speeding fines have always had an impact on policies, points on the licence are, of course, a red-flag of higher risk to the insurer. Increasing the financial severity of the penalties will only add to that scenario.

It’s an area that may be keenly felt in the corporate world, with potential cost implications for fleet premiums. Speeding offences having a knock-on effect to company costs; particularly so if they come with heavy fines and a claim attached. A risk which grows in the case of companies with large fleets, where the chances of offence grow with greater numbers on the workforce on the road.

Opportunities

While all that is an issue on the client side, of course, surely this law change also offers an opportunity for the industry, an opportunity founded upon value-adding service; with technology coming to the fore.

An opportunity for insurers to provide due diligence support in helping their clients manage the risks, perhaps?

No company really wants to fall foul of the law; and they certainly don’t want to be hit with additional costs and financial burdens.

Especially if they’re deemed as entirely preventable.

Isn’t it exactly this type of scenario for which the likes of telematics and the Internet of Things (IoT) were created?

The technology is already in existence and very much in use to provide diligent help to fleet managers, offering opportunities to better control foot-to-pedal behaviours among corporate drivers, sales teams, and other business fleets.

Telematics and associated smart technology offers fleet managers the opportunity to introduce monitoring, and in some cases, controls, over the way in which their drivers operate their vehicles.

Data which can be transmitted from the car to management, indicating average speeds, fuel consumption and other critical metrics that indicate driver behaviours; and help reduce the risk of offences.

What about the introduction of speed limiters; industrial vehicles have them in place?

OK, so isn’t this all a bit punitive? A bit Big Brother is watching?

Well, that’s a moral conundrum with which everyone must wrestle. But from a corporate point of view, how to the C-Suite bods feel about the potential of higher insurance premiums, possible fines, disruption to business, or drop in sales growth, that can be associated with drivers being grounded for speeding offences.

Or maybe even the gloomy spectre of a corporate manslaughter charge – in a worst case scenario.

Speeding on the motorways and roads is dangerous, and it’s costly. And as of April 24th, it got that much more costly.

But the technology exists for insurers to offer support and incentive for companies to monitor the driving and the speeds of their fleets, with those taking responsibility liable to pay lower premiums as a result.

Which, as Simon & Garfunkel would surely opine, could make many a fleet manager feeling groovy.

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