Young drivers often find their insurance premiums are higher than other car owners, with inexperience and riskier behaviour behind the wheel often cited as reasons.

However, a new four-year study is going to test these stereotypes in an effort to make motor insurance products better tailored to the nation’s younger cohorts. The University of Melbourne will lead the research, which will be carried out in Victoria in association with the Transport Accident Commission, Insurance Box and Monash University.

The scheme was awarded a $530,000 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and will examine drivers aged between 18 and 25. Mark Stevenson, Professor of Urban Transport and Public Health at the Melbourne School of Design, said the study could revolutionise how car coverage is calculated.

Both personal motor insurance and business insurance could be affected, with car owners and employers looking to see how driver behaviour may have an impact on policies.

“Young drivers comprise 13 per cent of the population, yet they account for 22 per cent of driver deaths in Australia,” Professor Stevenson said.

The research will examine the results from in-vehicle telematics systems across 200 18-25-year-olds in Victoria. According to Professor Stevenson, there has never been a comprehensive assessment of the technology’s capabilities in terms of offering incentives-based insurance packages.

“In-vehicle telematics enables drivers, insurers or employers (in relation to commercial vehicles) to collect safety-specific information on a driver’s on-road behaviour and performance,” he stated.

Information regarding the car’s movements are fed back to drivers through a smartphone application. Data relating to the vehicle’s speed, near-miss events, driving times and accidents can be accurately measured.

The four-year study is expected to take place over two stages. The initial phase will analyse what kind of insurance incentives could modify behaviour, after which researchers will explore whether these rewards lead to people driving more carefully.

Contact your local MGA office to discuss your car insurance needs, whether you’re an individual car owner or a fleet manager.