New guardian of the road

A  "Road Guardian" device will be launched in Belfast tomorrow (February 13) in a new initiative to improve road safety. INLT 08-651-CON
A "Road Guardian" device will be launched in Belfast tomorrow (February 13) in a new initiative to improve road safety. INLT 08-651-CON

A new initiative to improve driver safety will be launched in Belfast tomorrow.

“Road Guardian” will provide motorists with vehicle cameras designed to record vehicle usage and driver behaviour.

Road Guardian was founded by Sean Brown, a former police advanced driving instructor with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and a DOE approved driving instructor and founder of Road Safety Awareness NI.

Mr Brown said: “In 2014, there were over 79 deaths, as a result of road accidents in Northern Ireland. The rate of road deaths, according to the PSNI in Northern Ireland, increased by 38 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013, and this compares to the more modest increase of 3 per cent across Great Britain.

“This is a shocking statistic and demonstrates the importance of stepping up the campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and help motorists improve their safety by making changes to the way they drive. We are working closely with TRACKER, insurers and the government to promote the vital need to improve road safety in Northern Ireland.”

The “Road Guardian” initiative is aimed at encouraging all drivers in Northern Ireland, but particularly those under 25, to change their driving attitudes. Working with “Road Guardian” to address the problem is leading insurance telematics expert, TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), AXA and Fleet Financial.

Mr. Brown continued: “By monitoring their driving behaviour, younger motorists, could make positive changes to the way they use the road, as well as, potentially, reducing their insurance premiums.”

Attending the launch will be Jim Shannon MP, DUP spokesman on health and transport; Naomi Long MP and current deputy leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford.

By monitoring their driving with Road Guardian, motorists gain invaluable advice and support on how to correct bad driving habits. In addition, a telematics insurance box, such as that offered by TRACKER, records driving behaviour and can evaluate an individual’s likelihood to have an accident, information that is vital in assessing insurance premiums.

The first of a number of insurers and insurance brokers to recognise and reward drivers for embracing this technology is AXA which is offering a discount of 10 per cent on insurance premiums to taxi drivers in Northern Ireland who fit a “Road Guardian” camera.

Fleet Financial, a contract hire and vehicle management company based in Belfast, is also an early adopter of “Road Guardian”.

Ross Moffett, business development manager for Fleet Financial, added: “The team at Fleet Financial is proud to partner with Road Guardian. We see Road Guardian as added value to our clients from not only an insurance point of view but more importantly, from a driving safety and management aspect.”