Telematics Information Provides Valuable Insights Into the Driving Behavior of Young Roads Users

12 May 2022 Accidents
Several motor vehicle insurers have been offering their customers telematics- based tariffs for a few years now. Telematics, which combines telecommunications and computer science, enables data on driving behavior to be recorded, based on which the driver can learn information about their driving behavior. If they demonstrate an anticipatory driving style, they can receive a discount on the amount of motor vehicle insurance they have to pay. To give an example, with the “Telematics Plus” tariff offered by HUK-Coburg, a sensor installed in the vehicle works in combination with the smartphone app “Mein Auto” (my car) to record information on acceleration, braking behavior, speed, and driving behavior in corners. For the DEKRA road safety report, HUK-Coburg analyzed the anonymized driving data of just under 170,000 vehicles from 2020 and made a comparison between young and experienced drivers. In the “young drivers” category, the insurance holders had a maximum age of 25. In the comparison category “experienced drivers,” the insurance holders were between 35 and 65 years of age, with no other driver under the age of 25 being included on the insurance policy. An analysis of vehicle age showed that the young drivers generally drove older cars than the experienced drivers (on average 9.6 and 6.6 years respectively) and cars with less powerful engines (on average 80 kW and 100 kW). The annual driving time was slightly more than 200 hours for both groups. Young drivers were often on the road for longer in the evening than the comparison group, and drove around at night significantly more frequently. In terms of accident frequency, the rates were considerably higher among young drivers compared to experienced drivers across all cause of damage groups. On average, young drivers caused around 60 to 160 percent more accidents per kilometer driven than experienced drivers. The greatest differences could be seen in dynamic causes of damage, such as excessive speed when turning corners or excessive speed in general, and in collisions with wild animals. Furthermore, particularly speed, turning corners, and braking operations were areas where young drivers demonstrated risky behavior much more frequently compared to experienced drivers – 30 to 400 percent more frequently.
And that’s not all: If we split the individual categories by severity (for example, minor, moderate, or major speeding), it becomes clear that, the riskier the driving style, the more frequently young drivers demonstrated such driving behavior. In addition, young drivers used their smartphone while driving roughly three times as often as experienced drivers. HUK-Coburg also used the telematics data to analyze the speed profile on freeways without a speed limit. The findings showed that young drivers drove slightly faster than the reference group of experienced drivers. This tendency increased the higher the speed. Overall, the findings underpin the official annual accident numbers of the German Federal Statistical Office and at the same time provide important information on potential areas for improvement in terms of road safety, especially that of novice drivers. However, the analyses by HUK-Coburg based on telematics data also show that young drivers who maintain an anticipatory driving style have similarly few or even fewer accidents per kilometer driven than the average experienced driver.