October 2, 2016

The big news in the motor insurance world this week is that various telematics people have called for telematics to be made compulsory for anyone under the age of 22. Leading telematicists WhoaNelli, for instance, claim the government could save both lives and money by making black boxes mandatory. Hell, if they bought some shares in WhoaNelli they could even make money compulsorizing telematics!

And, you know, it really is quite extraordinary that young people, who are all basically pretty rubbish at driving, are still being allowed, in this day and age, to go driving around all over the place without having their every move digitally recorded and analysed. Who knows what they’re up to! Can it really be acceptable that less than one in five youngsters have so far been boxed-up?

No, of course it can’t. Something must be done to enforce 100% surveillance. And the aforementioned WhoaNelli have a cunning plan. In order for HMG to save money (and lives) on its own account and make some money for WhoaNelli and other telematicists, it should exempt 17-21 year-olds from IPT (at the same time as forcing them to use telematics). Who could object to a package like that!

It’s basically genius on every level. WhoaNelli win by making more money. Young drivers win by saving money on their insurance, as long as they drive nicely. The Government wins by looking a bit less greedy on the IPT, having more teens live long enough to start paying some taxes, and looking like they’re actually serious about gathering some proper data on the general population.

Paul Stacy of WhoaNelli claims: “Young drivers should be rewarded for taking our insurance and motivated to drive well, rather than be further penalised for their inexperience. Telematics should be the way to provide those most at risk with affordable insurance and incentivise them to drive safely.” And that is surely right. Let’s hope the powers that be take heed.

The other benefit, of course, is that once teens have been kitted out with boxes, they’re unlikely to kick the habit once they’re 22 and no longer legally bound to have telematics monitoring in place whenever they drive. That should help to push us all along the path to total data capture.

And if insurers do catch 22 year olds attempting to drop out of the system at 22, some pretty loud alarm bells should start ringing. Maybe some red flashing lights could be activated as well. Those with nothing to hide will surely stick with the black box brigade. Insurers – and possibly the police – would be well advised to take a long hard look at any who attempt to slip the net.

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