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Insurers urged to do more to prevent casualties

Motor insurers are being urged to play a greater role in reducing the number of road accident casualties.

Research from Sainsbury’s Bank indicates that 1.5 million people could be involved in a car accident over the next 12 months. But it believes this number could be reduced significantly if insurers put a greater focus on road safety and offered more advice to motorists.

Joanne Mallon, Sainsbury’s car insurance manager, says: "We believe motor insurers have a unique and ongoing customer relationship and are therefore in a key position to offer policy features and practical advice to motorists to help encourage greater road safety."

Sainsbury’s Bank believes for example that all policies should have as a standard feature new for old replacement child car seats after an accident to prevent children being put in danger by using seats that have already been damaged. Every year, as many as 40 children up to the age 11 years are killed while travelling in cars and about 500 are seriously injured 2. The proper use of child car restraints could prevent many of these deaths and injuries.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention Accidents, which promotes the proper use of child car seats, a seat that has already been involved in an accident may look fine but could be harbouring hidden faults.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety, RoSPA said: "A child car seat may look safe but if it has been in an accident, or is second hand, the seat might have invisible damage and may offer little or no protection. It might even cause injury. Insurers should be more willing to replace child car seats if they have been in an accident to save a child from injury."

Sainsbury’s Bank also believes that as over 10 million people claim to have been victims of road rage over the past year, policies should offer victims a counselling service or financial compensation if they have been a victim of road rage.

The bank’s research reveals there could be around 4,107 car accidents a day or 171 every hour and these can have a huge physical and psychological impact on the victims. The figures indicate that over the next 12 months, nearly 440,000 people could suffer from whiplash, 200,000 victims could end up receiving hospital treatment and some 30,000 could require counselling.

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