Patchy premium-discount penalises Pass Plus project

An announcement by Ruth Kelly at the Department of Transport yesterday exposes the failure of the Pass Plus scheme which was supposed to help to support inexperienced drivers after they had taken their driving tests.

Instructors would take newly-qualified youngsters for extra lessons at night-time, on motorways, in town and rural situations and in hazardous weather conditions in return for Pass Plus drivers receiving an insurance premium discount to reflect their increased training.

Ashton Berkhauer, insurance expert at uSwitch.com comments: "Most people seem to think that if you take the Pass Plus course, you will get a discount on your car insurance – however this is not always the case.

"In some cases the saving is still less than the cost of £171 to sit the Pass Plus. What’s more, our research shows that the 15 insurers that do offer a discount are not always the cheapest available. The Pass Plus scheme is a great concept but to date hasn’t delivered what it is suppose to. More of a financial incentive needs to be offered to drivers who take part in the scheme by encouraging every insurance provider to offer discounts on premiums. With the Transport Secretary’s recent announcement to reduce young fatalities on the road by introducing more in-depth driving tests, it will be interesting to see where Pass Plus fits into these plans."

It is calculated that only 13 per cent of drivers who pass their driving test have taken up the option of additional Pass Plus lessons since it was introduced in November 1995.

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