‘Force in­sur­ers to re­port drivers who text to the po­lice’

Cam­paign­ers say il­le­gal calls should be re­ported by in­sur­ers, writes Olivia Rudgard

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - YOUR MONEY -

In­sur­ers who know their cus­tomers are tex­ting and mak­ing calls at the wheel but do not share this in­for­ma­tion with po­lice have been crit­i­cised by a lead­ing road safety char­ity.

Last week Tele­graph Money re­vealed that Bri­tish in­sur­ers were track­ing their cus­tomers to see if they were break­ing the law by us­ing their mo­bile phones while driv­ing. In­creas­ingly drivers are tracked via their mo­bile phones through an app they have down­loaded.

Wunelli, a lead­ing telem­at­ics tech­nol­ogy com­pany, said that the in­for­ma­tion was used for ed­u­ca­tion and to de­ter­mine in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums – but that it would not be passed on to the po­lice.

Lawyers said that pri­vacy ques­tions were raised by the data col­lec­tion – and road safety cam­paign­ers have now said that in­sur­ers who know their cus­tomers are break­ing the law should do more to keep them off the road.

Jack Kush­ner, a spokesman for Brake, the road safety char­ity, said: “Man­u­fac­tur­ers and tech pro­duc­ers sim­ply must take some re­spon­si­bil­ity and play their part and help save lives. If in­sur­ers and telem­at­ics providers are aware of il­le­gal use of a phone, then they have an obli­ga­tion to in­form the au­thor­i­ties.”

The penalty for us­ing a phone at the wheel has re­cently been in­creased, in part due to high-pro­file tragedies in­volv­ing driver dis­trac­tion.

To­masz Kro­ker, 30, killed Tracy Houghton, her sons Ethan, 13, and Josh, 11, and her step­daugh­ter Aimee Gold­smith, 11, when he crashed into the back of their car while dis­tracted by his phone in Au­gust last year. He was jailed for 10 years.

The Gov­ern­ment has dou­bled the pun­ish­ment for phone mis­use to six points and a £200 fine. New drivers face dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

A spokesman for Wunelli said: “The data col­lected shows whether a phone call is tak­ing place and whether it’s hands-free or held.

“This is not for the purposes of polic­ing; this is to help in­sur­ers en­cour­age drivers not to use their phone at the wheel and in this re­spect the in­for­ma­tion is used in the same way as speed­ing data.”

Jonathan Hewett, of Octo Telem­at­ics, an­other com­pany that is work­ing on pro­vid­ing this data for UK in­sur­ers, said that the in­for­ma­tion would not be passed on to po­lice proac­tively but could be given to them if re­quested af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

In­sur­ers re­vealed they are col­lect­ing driver in­for­ma­tion but not pass­ing it on to po­lice

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