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Motor Insurance
Friday, June 1, 2007
Finding a way

The introduction of navigation systems is changing the way we drive cars, but many sceptics still question the positive effect on traffic safety and insurance claims. A report released recently by a Dutch research institute, TNO, conclusively shows the positive influence of satellite navigation devices on driving and traffic safety.
According to Steve Levitt from Aon South Africa, “The results of the six month study provide a new clear picture of the influence of navigation systems on traffic safety and the positive impact on the number of accident claims and resultant costs, particularly in a European environment where a GPS is used more extensively.”
Aon is a risk and insurance brokerage whose overseas principal was one of the key commissioners of the study.
Mr Levitt says the findings show that a GPS improves the driver’s behaviour by reducing his workload when driving through an unknown area to an unknown destination as well as heightening his alertness and reducing stress levels. It also reduces the distance driven on average by 16% and the journey time by 18% when driving in an unfamiliar area. Of interest particular is that drivers who do not have the use of a satellite navigation solution have 12% more damage claims to their vehicles and claim 5% more in costs.
The research showed that when a driver uses a satellite navigation solution he stops 25% less frequently and is stationary for 35% less time. Satellite guidance also reduces the number of turns required to get to a destination compared to conventional navigation tools such as paper maps or online route planners. What is also shown is that driving behaviour improves with over 50% fewer inappropriate actions, such as ignoring traffic signs. The driver can focus on driving rather than finding the way.
“In the South African environment these benefits are especially pertinent,” notes Mr Levitt, “particularly at a time when rate increases on personal and commercial lines are predicted due to the high motor repair costs caused by accidents, a deteriorating road system, an increase in the number of drivers — as much as 50 000 per month — and the high import cost of spare parts.”

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.5 1st June, 2007
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