A new survey of more than two-thousand 18 year olds whose parents have a motorhome shows that the youngsters can plainly see the driving faults of their parents. The survey involved asking youths from throughout the United Kingdom about their parents driving habits and was compiled to see if there are any possible destructive driving habits of parents observed by the teens that they may have picked up when they drive themselves.
According to the teens surveyed, a large number of parents (82%) will frequently talk on mobiles while driving their motorhome and 47% will often drive without a seatbelt. Not surprisingly the teens indicated that their parents are their primary driving influence. The survey also found that few of them speak up and ask a parent to stop engaging in distracting behaviour while driving. But there’s some good news in the study too; youngsters can impact their parent’s behaviour as when they do speak up 90% of parents will change their driving.
A huge 62% of the youngsters say they will talk on their mobile while driving, and approximately half who do not yet drive expect they will engage in this behaviour when they begin driving. A further 27% believe speeding is safe after seeing their parents do this.
The research will worry motorhome insurance firms as these bad habits could lead to accidents and claims on insurance policies. Parental influence on young drivers may help explain a clear connection between how younger drivers actually pick up their driving habits. Nearly 9 out of 10 of those taking part in the research (89%) describe themselves as safe drivers, yet many engage in risky behaviour that often leads to crashes, including speeding, neglecting to use seat belts, and talking on a mobile. What’s more, they do not view these as dangerous, again suggesting that they believe they are safe because their parents drive the same way.
A number of motorhome insurance firms are thinking about the future and writing to all policy holders asking them to avoid bad driving habits the younger generation may pick up by watching them drive.
Motorhome insurance companies will be delighted to learn that recent research reveals that over three quarters of motorists questioned said they would be happy for manufactures to come up with technology that will deactivate digital devices when they get into their mobile home.
As this is about as likely to happen as Turkeys voting for Christmas, it must be up to manufacturers to come up with safer ways for owners to continue communicating while they are ensconced in their campervans, motorhomes or whatever vehicle they may be travelling in. Incredibly, despite it being 23 times more dangerous than focusing on the road ahead, some motorhome owners are still using their hands to send a text while driving. Insurance experts are convinced some technology is actually causing accidents and this is why, they believe, it is time to draw a line in the sand and determine whether it is time to disable certain actions in the vehicle.
All distractions are not equal when it comes to danger. Talking to a passenger or glancing in the mirrors to assess the traffic is significantly less dangerous than sending a text or posting an update on a social network site. Insurance experts believe that texting while driving is the most disturbing and dangerous thing a motorist can do while driving but fines and bans are only as effective as the level of enforcement, and research shows that 88% of drivers recently questioned said they see mobile use by drivers on a daily basis. So it seems that texting is like breathing, drivers do not even know they are doing it. More than three in four mobile home owners (76%) believe vehicle technologies are too distracting and even dangerous to have. In addition, more than half (55%) argue that some manufacturers have taken technology for road use too far and furthermore three in five (61%) view their motorhome as a haven from the outside world and they do not always want to be connected while driving.
In the past, one of the many joys that travelling in a motorhome gave to its owner was that of leaving behind the modern world of technology behind. Today, motorhome insurance is vital to protect all of the technology that is necessary to stay in touch with the outside world whilst exploring the country.
Now even the oldest and most traditional motorhome owners are taking some kind of technology with them. The majority have mobile phones, laptops or tablet computers and although it is extremely tempting to leave technology behind, they do actually have a useful purpose when on holiday. It has never been easier to check the weather forecast or look for places to visit. The only problem that will be faced is finding a strong enough signal to stay in touch. Today many campsites will have Wi-Fi connections, some are free to connect to, but others, especially at holiday parks, will charge a fee. Some Wi-Fi fees can be quite high but fortunately there are much cheaper alternatives to these expensive fees. Around 66% will look online before they leave to find a list of available free Wi-Fi hotspots that they can connect to which is a higher level than the 55% who do the more traditional search and look for the nearest farm shop or the nearest supermarket.
Most laptops or tablets will have has a USB port, meaning it will be possible to buy a dongle which plugs directly into the computer. The dongle will connect to the same network signal that a mobile phone uses. Obviously this will only work if there is a mobile phone signal where you are staying. If a tablet computer does not have a USB port (the original iPad does not), then a MiFi mobile device will be the best option. MiFi units are a compact, wireless device that allows multiple users to share a single broadband connection whilst on the go.
They work by creating a localized signal, similar to the wireless routers used by home broadband providers. Unlike dongles, which started to become ubiquitous in 2007, MiFis are relatively new but can connect up to 5 devices at once. The ways and means of accessing the internet from a motorhome are constantly changing. The United Kingdom market has evolved considerably over the last 5 years. The market will continue to evolve onwards and the price for motorhome internet access will hopefully continue to fall. Decent internet access is one of the necessities of modern life for most motorhome owners who have become increasingly reliant on broadband. A recent survey found 69% of motorhome owners saying they would prefer to be able to get some kind of internet connection while touring the UK, while 48% said internet access was necessary to make sure they get the best out of their holiday.
Motorhome insurance providers may have to re-examine how they set their insurance premiums in future if the Government acts on the results of a survey conducted by road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist.
It is clear from the survey that the general public feel that harsher penalties for drivers caught using hand held mobile devices should be introduced immediately, and that more should be done to catch the thousands of drivers who abuse the law every day. It is a view that will be shared by many in the motorhome and campervan insurance business.
At the moment drivers prosecuted for using a hand held device are given three points on their driving licence and a £60 fine; over 90% of drivers surveyed think the fine should be at least £100 with over 80% also urging the points tally to be raised to six points. Interestingly enough the general public also have the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on their side as he suggested a similar penalty in a recent radio programme. In the interview he also suggested that a driving ban for a second similar offence would drastically cut the number of people risking picking up a mobile phone when driving. In fact 210,000 people were prosecuted for using a mobile device last year and many observers think the figure for this year will be even higher unless the penalties become more draconian.
There is no doubt that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous; statistics show that motorists are four times more likely to have an accident if they are using a mobile phone, which is probably explained by research that shows drivers reaction times drop by 50% when they speak or text while in control of a vehicle. However, it may well be sound advice to toughen up the law now while public support is evident, because mobile phones become ever more advanced and offer more and more varieties of use. The longer the law remains lenient, the longer it will take to wean the risk takers away from the danger.
Motorhome insurance providers will look in dismay at a survey published by the RAC this week, and wonder what on earth the powers that be can do to make young drivers become more responsible drivers.
At a time when leaders of the motor insurance industry, the UK Government and motor manufacturers come together to discuss ways of making roads safer and motor insurance cheaper, the survey by the RAC suggests the message is just not getting across to young drivers. The results from interviewing over 1000 drivers showed that 17-24 year-olds are more likely to take drugs before driving now than they were 12 months ago, the figures increasing from 5% to 9%. In the same period 1 in 8 of the same age group had been in a vehicle knowing the driver was under the influence of drugs and were seemingly not too concerned.
The situation for usage of mobile devices was equally depressing with 20% of young drivers admitting they access Facebook and Twitter while driving. In 2011 the figure was just 10%! Studies by motorhome insurance providers show that drivers using hand held phones are twice more likely to have a crash, while evidence from other industry experts suggest that using a mobile phone while driving is in fact more dangerous than drink driving. So where do we go from here? The RAC believe that the Government is at least partly to blame pointing out that using a mobile phone or taking drugs while driving is not widely held to be socially unacceptable in the same way as drink driving is. The reason they believe is because the Government have not funded a national hard hitting campaign to outlaw the modern curses in the way that drink driving was targeted for many years.
Of course later this year the new offence of drug driving will arrive on the statute book and maybe that will help, but many in the industry now believe only an out and out ban will stop youngsters from being tempted to reach for their mobile phones when behind the wheel of a car.