East Winch insurance company Adrian Flux's black box under fire on Channel 4's Joe Lycett's Got Your Back
A West Norfolk insurance company got some prime-time coverage on national television last night - but it won't be the sort it would have been craving.
Comedy consumer rights show Channel 4’s Joe Lycett's Got Your Back took aim at East Winch-based Adrian Flux Insurance after a viewer complained that the black box it had installed in her care to monitor her driving had gone haywire but she feared if she stuck with the firm if could actually end with her having to pay more on her premium, so she cancelled the policy.
Black box insurance is a type of policy offered to young or new drivers to help them reduce the cost of their insurance premium.
The device, quite literally a black box, is installed in the car and records data about the miles covered and driving style. The idea is that the drivers are rewarded for driving well and safely with lower premiums when renewing their insurance.
But the young driver from the West Midlands, featured on the show, said that despite paying a four-figure premium to have the black box installed, she soon ran into trouble.
The black box claimed that she had driven the wrong way down a dual carriageway, before driving along a brook and through a museum.
Lycett staged his own version of The Grand Tour with the old Top Gear team, with him as a fake Jeremy Clarkson and Strictly star and former magician's assistant Debbie McGee as James May, as they tried and failed to recreate the young driver's alleged exploits.
The show alleged that some insurance companies were using cheaper versions of the hi-tech kit, which was leading to problems.
Lycett responded to the situation by placing large black boxes in towns around the country with QR codes that gave cheeky messages about Adrian Flux.
Declaring that "all roads lead to King's Lynn" he came to West Norfolk and parked at the Adrian Flux Arena at Saddlebow and tweeted a request to Adrian Flux chief executive David Flux to meet him in the car park.
When he did not show he staged a comedy interview with a mop standing in for the CEO.
Adrian Flux gave a statement to the show saying that it appeared that a break in GPS coverage had given misleading readings and made a goodwill payment of £150 to the aggrieved driver.
Adrian Flux has said it believes the black boxes are slowing young drivers down and saving lives.
It said Government reports show 16 per cent of fatal and serious crashes involve young drivers with speeding remaining a serious problem. However the black box has been hailed as life-saving technology after analysis revealed it is dramatically slowing down young drivers’ speeding.
In 2019, 88 people aged 17 to 24 lost their lives on British roads while a further 1,234 youngsters were injured while behind the wheel. Another 287 people, including passengers and pedestrians, were killed in crashes involving a young car driver.
An18-year-old who crashed into a ditch said: "It is life-saving technology.”
The Department for Transport (DFT) Select Committee’s report also found that while young drivers made up only seven per cent of all licence holders they were involved in 16 per cent of fatal and serious crashes, a worrying statistic with speeding in the age group remaining a serious problem.
The DFT’s findings stated police records showed that 37.9 per cent of crashes involving young drivers involved either “careless” or “reckless” driving that was “too fast for conditions” or “exceeding the speed limit.” Road safety charity Brake’s survey found the demographic were 20 per cent more likely to drive at the highest speed compared to their older counterparts.
A number of methods continue to be used to try and combat the problem, including technological-based insurance cover for drivers who, usually, have just passed their test.
Black box policies, sometimes referred to as telematics, monitor driver behaviour and rewards safer and slower driving by offering cheaper renewal premiums based on performance. And data provided by one of the UK’s largest specialist motor insurance brokers, Adrian Flux, suggests the type of cover is positively influencing young driver behaviour.
Analysis shows their FluxScore black box offering is reducing the number of significant and gross speeders by a huge 60 per cent and 70 per cent respectively. Crucially, the company’s research shows it achieves the values of 42 per cent and 52 per cent after the box and app has been enabled for 90 days showing it has a longer-term effect at reducing speeding.
The FluxScore app, available for Android and iOS phones, is linked to a self-fitting black box on the inside of the windscreen and gives drivers daily updates to show how the previous 24 hours’ driving has affected the driver’s renewal premium. It shows how cheap their next cover could be if they continue to drive well.
There are a host of other reasons to take out a black box insurance policy with Adrian Flux. But a special safety feature that enables the box to dial out automatically if it suspects there’s been an accident can provide added peace of mind for parents.
It’s what happened to 18 year old Ayesha Jenkins when her car ended up in a ditch despite travelling at just 10mph in snowy conditions on a 30mph road. The 18-year-old recorded an interview about her night-time accident on a rural road near Hereford.
She said: “It was really nice to have someone there to speak to as soon as it happened because you’re sort of in a state where you don’t really know what’s going on,”
“It’s definitely technology that can save lives. Mine wasn’t a serious accident, but if someone is unconscious after a crash with this black box in the car, someone is going to know.
"You see lots of cases where people crash on country lanes, where teenagers are often speeding about, and they’re not found until hours later and by then they have passed away because no one has found them.
“A lot of people think they’re limited by having a black box but it’s not limiting them, it’s actually helping them become a better and much safer driver. I don’t drive fast and I had a crash.
"No one wants a black box when they start driving because they want to go as fast as they can and not have their driving monitored. But I’d stand up for black boxes even before I had the accident.”
In 2019, 73 per cent of young car driver fatalities occurred on rural roads where the need to slow all drivers down, especially young and inexperienced ones, continues to be a pressing issue.
Reducing speed not only helps prevent accidents but it significantly reduces the severity of injuries sustained as a result of any impact. An average increase in speed of just 0.6mph results in a three per cent higher risk of a crash involving injury, according to the World Health Organisation.