November 29, 2018 3:37 pm
Updated: November 30, 2018 7:38 pm

ICBC launching new pilot project aimed at inexperienced drivers

WATCH: ICBC launches new program for new drivers

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The Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) is launching a pilot project that uses telematics to track the way as many as 7,000 new drivers manoeuvre on the road.

The public insurer will use a device in the inexperienced driver’s vehicle to track behaviours such as speeding, braking patterns and level of distracted driving.

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The B.C. government is in the midst of a massive overhaul at ICBC that includes having newer drivers pay more, starting in September of next year, to better reflect the risk associated with a lack of experience behind the wheel. This pilot will allow the public insurer to determine whether tracking behaviour can measurably improve driving.

READ MORE: Losses continue to mount at ICBC as basic rates are expected to rise

“From our first telematics pilot earlier this year, ICBC has developed a telematics strategy to identify how the technology can be used to improve road safety and drive behavioural change among higher-risk drivers in B.C.,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said.

“We heard from those pilot participants that most believed the use of telematics would make the roads safer for everyone. This is our next step in a thoughtful examination of telematics technology and how it might help to keep these drivers safer.”

LISTEN: ICBC is recruiting seven-thousand new drivers to let technology track driving behaviour next year. 

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The provincial government has been struggling to right the financial ship at ICBC. The insurer lost $1.3 billion last year and is forecasting a $890-million loss this fiscal year.

READ MORE: ICBC cutting annual advertising budget in half to fund police traffic enforcement

Less experienced drivers are the target of this pilot because, according to ICBC, new drivers are 5.6 times more at risk of getting into a crash — and for that crash to be severe — than those with 20 years of driving experience. This risk gradually decreases as new drivers gain more experience.

The insurer has had some success using telematics with 40 per cent of participants seeing improvements in their driving by using the technology.

ICBC will analyze a driver’s behaviour and produce an overall score in terms of the risk level. Anyone interested in participating in the pilot can sign up online.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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