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Rewards for safe driving

Rewards for safe driving

Edwin McGreal

YOUNG drivers in Mayo are to be part of an innovative pilot scheme which aims to reward them for safe driving through a reduction in the cost of insurance.
A young drivers’ register for drivers (both male and female) between the ages of 17 and 25 is being set up in the county under the auspices of Mayo County County Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons and An Garda Síochána’s Young Driver Liaison Officer for Mayo, Garda Kevin O’Connor, and is the first such scheme to be set up in the country.
The scheme aims to get as many young drivers as possible listed on a register and from there educate them on road safety with the incentive of a reduction in insurance costs for those whose record on the road is clean after a 12-month period. A certificate will be presented to the successful candidates, who then produce it to an insurance company and get a reduction in their insurance quote.
With drivers under 25 often being classed as ‘high-risk’ for insurers, due to a high incidence of accidents among that group, premiums tend to be high for that category. But this scheme will reward the safe drivers among them.
“What we are hoping to do through this method is make some things more self-policing,” explained Garda O’Connor. “We want to separate boy racers from other young drivers so that all young drivers are not tarred with the same brush when it comes to getting insurance. Hopefully we might be able to reverse the trend and reward those younger drivers who are very responsible on the road.”
While the system is not yet fully ready for implementation, O’Connor expects it to come to pass in the ‘near future’ with a number of different insurance companies having being contacted. Gibbons and O’Connor are undertaking plenty of research into the scheme too.
“Regarding the insurance scheme, we are at the proposal stage. We’ve an undertaking from one insurance company and are in contact with other insurance companies. The idea is that the drivers will have a choice of insurance companies and will take whichever company gives them the best rate.
“We will be going up North and co-operating with the PSNI, swopping ideas. That’ll be in the next month and what we will be doing is examining their ideas for dealing with young drivers. We will explore every avenue and come up with our own ideas too,” explained Garda O’Connor.
Drivers who register will commit to attending one road safety seminar and, in a bid to give young drivers an outlet away from the open road for what can loosely be termed ‘a need for speed’, a structured rally course is in the process of being set-up in Claremorris.
“The new course in Claremorris will be working in conjunction with the insurance scheme. We will be saying to the insurance companies that for the drivers to operate in a controlled environment like this will help them let off steam and therefore they will become safer drivers on the open road rather than doing stuff like that on the open road. Anyone using it has to be registered and what we intend to do is have a parish grand prix and so on,” he explained.
Any young drivers interested in getting onto the Young Drivers Register should contact Kevin O’Connor at Castlebar Garda Station or Noel Gibbons at Mayo County Council for further details.