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New smartphone technology which analyses driving habits has suggested that drivers in the Newry, Mourne and Down council area are the safest in Northern Ireland compared to other council areas.

Local drivers scored 70% compared to the Northern Ireland average of 68%, although poor cornering and braking were found to be the most common driving faults. 

Julie Gibbons
Julie Gibbons

The findings were produced by a smartphone app for younger drivers developed by Northern Ireland insurance firm Autoline.  Used by several thousand customers, the app tracks journeys and provides accurate analysis of drivers’ speed, acceleration, braking and cornering.

Michael Blaney, Autoline’s CEO, said:

“Autoline was the first firm in Europe to link smartphone technology to an insurance policy and we launched ChilliDrive, our latest award-winning, next generation app last year.  The aim is to enhance driving skills, reduce car insurance premiums and, ultimately, improve road safety.

“While designed to give detailed feedback to individual customers, ChilliDrive is also providing some helpful insights into driving habits across Northern Ireland, particularly for younger drivers aged between 17 and 25.

“Users can see which areas need improvement and, interestingly, the most common fault is poor cornering followed by excessive braking.  Speeding is actually the measure which drivers score best on.  The positive news, though, is that the standard of driving across Northern Ireland is good.”

Local drivers scored best on staying within the speed limit, achieving 85%, the same as the Northern Ireland average.  Cornering was scored at 46%, slightly better than the regional average of 45%, whilst braking was 60%, above the Northern Ireland average (57%).

Across Northern Ireland the stats show that people tend to drive better during the day than at night, and that females are slightly safer drivers than males.  When it comes to speeding, though, there’s very little difference between the sexes.

The ChilliDrive Smartphone App
The ChilliDrive Smartphone App

Julie Gibbons, Autoline’s Operations Director, added:

 “The app acts as an ever present in-car ‘mentor’ to improve driving habits. 

“As the level of claims made by ChilliDrive customers is lower than non-tech based customers, we’ve been able to negotiate discounted premiums which are on average £1,500 below the traditional car policy.”

Mike Bristow, Corporate Fundraising Officer from Brake, said:

“Although not a fully representative sample, this new data is an invaluable insight into the real driving habits of thousands of drivers in Northern Ireland.

“Young drivers are involved in a disproportionately high number of road crashes and this technology can help to provide them with useful feedback so that they can adjust their driving style to be safer. This app is an innovative way of engaging drivers with their behaviour on the road. It’s a major advance which helps give younger drivers the tools they need to take ownership of how to develop their driving.”

The app uses satellite imagery to physically locate where problems such as cornering occur and includes an accident reporter and a SOS button directly linked to a 24/7 claims service. 

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