Emerging fourth ‘E’ in improving road safety

Road safety has successfully applied the 3 E’s: engineering, education and enforcement, preferably in combination, as they have demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing the human costs of road crashes.

Now as a result of application of technology the potential of fourth ‘E’: encouragement has emerged as a disruptive business model.

The 3 E’s in improving road safety: Engineering, Education and Enforcement

Road safety is being transformed by technology, particularly with advances in providing dynamic safety warnings and traffic control, such as variable speed limits and advanced safety technologies in vehicles and infrastructure, through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.

Connected vehicles will provide considerable crash reduction opportunities, moving from static to dynamic decision support and warning systems for drivers, through to automated fail safe systems.

Autonomous or driverless vehicles on the other hand may actually worsen road safety in the short term transition period, with a mixed vehicle fleet where human drivers make errors or are distracted.

Enforcement has become more cost-effective and pervasive through the application of technology, in particular the success of speed and red light cameras in improving driver behaviour.

Automated enforcement is having a major impact on improving road safety, as this enables the ‘perception’ in the driving public that the whole network is being ‘managed’ or monitored, rather than the focus of point enforcement through manual methods.

The cost of enforcement is also dramatically reduced, but more importantly it can be applied all-day, every-day at little extra cost.

The logical extension is for enforcement to utilise the smarts in vehicles to monitor compliance to the road laws. For example, seat belt warning system in the car could become an extension of the road safety enforcement system!

The 4th ‘E’ in Improving Road Safety: Encouragement

Encouragement for safer driving is emerging in the form of insurance incentives: Pay As You Drive (PAYD), which is a growing trend for innovative companies insuring vehicles and drivers.

Rather than setting premiums for ‘average’ risks for an age group (such as under 25’s), drivers can opt to provide insurance companies with their specific risk exposure, through automated vehicle technology, monitoring how much, when and where they drive, in return for (usually reduced) individual premiums. This is particularly attractive for the high risk under 25’s and those that do not drive long distances or travel in less risky times or locations.

The new frontier is PHYD or Pay How You Drive – this approach involves allowing the insurance company to monitor a number of aspects of driving behaviour, including safety risk profile, such as speeding, acceleration and braking, response to driving conditions; even automatic advice of any infringements from enforcement agencies – a new meaning to ‘connected vehicles’.

Effectively this emerging insurance business model is outsourcing enforcement, by providing individual drivers financial encouragement. A disruptive innovation in the field of road safety.

Would you be happy to have your insurance company monitor how safe you drive if it means a more tailored premium?

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