5 Top Predictions for 2016 from Young Drivers of Canada

New Year Brings 5 Predictions from Young Drivers of Canada

It’s 2016! What will this New Year bring driving educators with the advent of new trends and technologies including telematics and autonomous vehicles? Young Drivers of Canada shares their “Top Five Predictions for 2016” on how upcoming changes will potentially affect drivers.

There has never been a period of time with so many changes in technological, financial and social trends, that have the ability to affect how we drive and drivers everywhere. Driving instruction such as offered by Young Drivers of Canada will necessarily change with these trends, to make the road a safer place. So to look at the confluence of these many forces, Young Drivers of Canada would like to make the following Five Predictions for 2016 with the potential to impact drivers:

Prediction #1 – Drivers’ Insurance will Accommodate Self-Driving Vehicles. The transition to autonomous vehicles on our roads could bring about the most significant change to the automobile insurance industry since its inception. In this vein, the promise of increased safety features of autonomous vehicles may be the most significant contribution to automobile insurance reform in the long term. Already, trend spotting companies such as KPMG believe that self-driving vehicles will lower driving risk, leading to decreased losses for carriers. The question remains whether these savings will be passed on to all drivers?

Prediction #2 – Telematics Benefits will Continue to be Questioned. When it comes to modernization of auto insurance programs based on vehicle telematics, Canadian drivers will remain skeptical, concerned and confused. For instance, few understand or believe promises of how auto insurance companies will handle data and privacy of participants of telematic programs. Practically speaking, many Canadians are uncomfortable with the idea of their location being collected and potentially shared, through direct or indirect means such as by way of a court subpoena to unintended audiences. Accordingly, for telematics there remains a gap in a Canadian driver’s understanding of the consequences of telematics based insurance programs.

Prediction #3 – Millennials’ Influence will extend to Automakers. Millennials are the golden goose being chased by every auto maker, and even though they currently buy infrequently, have the potential to change the auto industry. It seems that everyone is trying to find that magic feature that will lead millennials to their door. Expectedly, pairing this cohort’s desire for smartphone enabled infotainment systems with vehicles could be a winning formula. Similarly, improved navigational systems, wireless connectivity, and onboard vehicle technologies to assist with parking and stopping could also do the job. This is supported by a recent poll by Penn Schoen Berland, that found millennials fear other motorists driving dangerously, and as a result have an increased desire for autonomous vehicle technology.

Prediction #4 – Canada will Become An Active Player in Autonomous Vehicle Technologies. Effective January 1, 2016, Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to allow autonomous vehicle testing on its roadways. The testing was approved by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation for Canadian companies to assess self-driving technology on Canadian soil. This Ontario pilot program will have restrictions, but will allow for self-driving cars on any public roads at any time of the day. At this time only vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and academic and research institutions will be permitted to participate. All self-driving vehicles will require a licensed human behind the wheel and there will be required mandatory liability insurance coverage.

Prediction # 5 – Hybrid Cars Still Have a Future Despite Decreasing Sales. Canadian sales of hybrid gas-electric vehicles have decreased as gas prices have remained relatively low. Canadian sales of hybrid vehicles were at their peak in 2012 and many consumers no longer feel that the price premium for such vehicles is worth it. With current gas prices, the +$3,000 price difference over the life of a hybrid vehicle may not be recouped and hybrid sales will only rebound in the future if the price of oil increases, even with the rebates and incentives offered by some Canadian provinces to offset the higher cost of hybrids.

With the potential for change to the Canadian driving landscape brought about by these predictions, Young Drivers of Canada will continue to support changes in automotive technology and driving trends that help to avoid and prevent collisions, incorporating those changes to teach students driving skills for life. For more information on courses available through Young Drivers, visit www.yd.com

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