Divisional head explains why the use of new technology can be ’great for all parties’

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve driving behaviour behind the wheel has “got to be great for all parties” as it could lower accidents and reduce premiums for safer motorists.

That was according to Russell Harrison, divisional head at Markerstudy, who highlighted that ”distracted driving is said to be the leading cause of road accidents and fatalities in the UK”.

It came after Durham Constabulary revealed earlier this year (8 June 2023) that officers from its Roads and Armed Policing Unit had deployed a new sensor test vehicle to detect drivers who use their mobile phones or are not wearing their seatbelt.

Used over a two-day period, a specialist camera was able to scan all vehicles passing and record any offences.

Police revealed that on the A1(M) and A19, a total of 85 drivers were found to have broken the law.

Some 81% of those stopped were not wearing a seatbelt and 19% were caught using their mobile phone.

“If new technology (AI based or otherwise) can be utilised to help keep drivers safe, reduce the number of accidents and ultimately reduce costs for safer drivers, then that’s got to be great for all parties,” Harrison told Insurance Times.


In March 2022, the government announced that it was illegal to use a mobile phone while driving under virtually any circumstance.

Anyone caught using their handheld device while driving could face a fine of up to £1,000 as well as six points on their licence or a full driving ban.

Harrison said that a substantial number of accidents and fatalities were directly or indirectly related to drivers being distracted.

According to figures published by the Department for Transport in July 2022, a total of 17 people were killed and 499 were injured in road traffic collisions in Great Britain where the driver was using a mobile phone in 2020.

Meanwhile, there were 55 deaths and 3,119 injuries in collisions where distraction in vehicle was recorded as a contributory factor.

“When drivers are not fully focused on the road due to activities like texting, talking on the phone or adjusting satellite navigation systems, their reaction times are slowed, increasing risk of collisions,” Harrison said.

”We have been using tools like telematics for over 10 years, giving customers useful feedback on their driving behaviour as this helps improve road safety for our customers, which is our key concern, while also allowing us to reward better drivers with lower insurance premiums.”