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Will driverless cars mean more expensive premiums?

Will driverless cars mean more expensive premiums? | Insurance Business

Will driverless cars mean more expensive premiums?
We’re speeding towards the reality of adopting autonomous vehicles, but with increased technology comes increased distractions, from smartphones to sat navs.

Last year, distracted drivers paid out £3,298,000 in fines, but the cost of a conviction is more than just a one-off expense – those convicted of distracted driving could face more than a 20% increase in their insurance premiums, according to new research.

A distracted driving offence, officially known as a CU 80, stays on a driver’s license for four years, incurring more than £1,454 in combined fines and increased premiums expense at current premium levels, research by LV= and Octo Telematics has found.

In the age of smartphones and connected cars, not switching off behind the wheel costs lives and money – but that’s just the beginning, as the driverless car revolution threatens to bring more distraction to our roads.

“What’s interesting is that as vehicles are becoming easier to drive, there are more distractions available.
The smartphone is really a window to many things – information, news, traffic alerts, entertainment, streaming of music and video, social media – a whole multitude of things,” Jonathan Hewett, chief marketing officer at Octo, told Insurance Business.

While on the face of it, the wealth of technology now at our fingertips is a positive addition to our lives, ultimately, it’s distracting us from the very important process of “having two hands on the wheel and paying attention to the road in front and behind,” Hewett commented.

And as the concept of autonomous vehicles going mainstream becomes an ever-closer reality, drivers are facing a growing number of distractions, and insurers have some complex challenges ahead.

“I think from an insurance point of view, it’s going to be fascinating, because what we’re going to need to understand is the role of the different actors, the hardware, the software, the driver and the interplay of those components,” Hewett said. “In a world where the roads aren’t simply going to be populated by fully autonomous vehicles – there’s going to be fully autonomous, partially autonomous, some connected vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, horses and carts, you name it – we’re just heading for greater complexity.

“All of this technology, which we all seem to constantly want and are told is going to make the world a safer place… in the next five to 10 years the reality is they’re probably not going to make the world a safer place, they’re going to make it more dangerous because we have more things distracting us.”


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