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Young Drivers’ Safety Habits Raise Insurers' Concerns

UBI insurance programs encourage young adults to be safe on the road, but most still drive with cellphones in hand.

The rise of UBI has started a trend of safe-driving initiatives among insurers. Usage-based insurance platform CellControl, Sprint, and young-driver UBI insurer Ingenie are among the many businesses that have implemented driver behavior programs. Have their efforts been worth it?

This past September, Sprint announced a partnership with Modus and CellControl, which creates non-pairing Bluetooth technology that blocks cell signals in a moving vehicle. The trio intended to integrate CellControl’s technology with UBI platforms to facilitate safe driving among consumers.

[Learn more about Sprint’s initiative: Text Disablement a Gateway to UBI Adoption?.]

Such technology may be more necessary than they anticipated. A new survey conducted by Ingenie concluded that over half of young drivers admit to using their cellphones behind the wheel, primarily for texting and app use. Ingenie developed the survey as part of its Road Safety Week initiative, which was begun to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

Of the 1,000 young drivers surveyed by OnePoll, 75 percent often use a navigation app while driving. 50 percent read text messages on the road, while 37 percent send them.

Apps also proved a major source of distraction. A significant number of respondents admitted to using WhatsApp (30 percent), Facebook (28 percent), Snapchat (25 percent), Twitter (24 percent), and Instagram (22 percent) while driving. A quarter use Shazam, a music ID app, to identify songs on the radio. Seventeen percent play Angry Birds behind the wheel.

“These figures serve to underscore the simple fact that more must be done to educate inexperienced young drivers about the dangers of being complacent on the road,” driving expert Quentin Wilson said in a release announcing Ingenie's findings.

Safety Insurance recently announced its sponsorship of a new app to encourage teen driving safety. Companies such as Allstate and Nationwide have webpages dedicated to safety tips for young drivers. However, these efforts may not be enough. What else can be done? Tell us in the comments.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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