Black boxes may be the answer to expensive premiums

Aircraft style black boxes could be the answer to high insurance premiums in Northern Ireland. The DOE (Department of the Environment) wants the boxes to be installed in new drivers’ cars to help cut both insurance premiums and accidents.

DoE Minister Alex Attwood will meet with insurers this week, and he believes that the use of this technology, which monitors driver behaviour, is a possible option to help tackle the increasing premiums. Car insurance quotes are 12% higher in Northern Ireland than the rest of Great Britain on average, although this rises to a huge 70% in rural areas. Almost 20% of new drivers in Northern Ireland will have some kind of collision within their first six months of getting behind the wheel.

Mr Attwood said: “Departmental officials have also been exploring with the local motor insurance industry representatives the potential availability in Northern Ireland of young driver ‘Pay How You Drive’ insurance products linked to in-car technology capable of monitoring driving performance. The point of the exercise is to see if we can find what more can be done to find a remedy to the problem of higher rural quotes and higher premiums.”

The scheme would work by placing a box as small as two cigarette boxes in the vehicle which will record speeds, use of brakes and poor steering using satellite systems. It would be aimed at drivers aged under 25, and if there is evidence of good driving, motorists will earn a cut in the price of their motor insurance the following year. Mr Attwood is establishing a group to review road safety measures and will be meeting with as many insurers as he can to discuss what other ideas could be put in place to reduce premiums. He is also in favour of granting provisional licences earlier but stipulating a minimum period before a driver can obtain a full licence.

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