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SMMT calls for insurance premium discounts

The motor industry is calling for the insurance body Thatcham (Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre) to recommend premium discounts for drivers of cars fitted with the latest accident prevention technology.

Thatcham has issued a statement promoting the benefits of electronic stability control systems (ESC), that prevent over and under-steer by braking individual wheels. This is just one of a number of active safety technologies that prevent an accident rather than mitigating its effect. For example, ABS, another active safety system, has now been fitted as standard to new cars since 2004 in a voluntary move taken by the car industry.

However, the Society of Motor Traders and Manufactirers says. no active safety system is currently included as part of Thatcham's insurance rating criteria, which means that more and more new car buyers are benefiting from the technologies, but not cheaper insurance premiums.

Thatcham says that international insurance figures point to a 15% reduction in damage costs where ESC is fitted. SMMT is therefore calling for Thatcham to direct its members to pass that saving onto customers by offering 15% off policies for cars with the system.

SMMT spokesman Nigel Wonnacott said: 'The car industry has invested significantly in passive safety systems, protecting occupants and pedestrians involved in accidents. However, millions of pounds have also been spent on accident avoidance systems, like lane departure warnings, assisted braking, anti-rollover and adaptive headlights which have saved countless lives. They've also saved the insurance industry millions of pounds and it's high time that was recognised in cheaper insurance for customers.'

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