- Credit: Oliur Rahman, Unsplash

One size fits all

1y ago

1.8K

A driving licence is a driving licence. It covers you for all 'cars' up to a certain size... right? Yes, but for how long?

I recently visited Mercedes-Benz World in the UK, it was my first time there, and for anyone who hasn’t been (car fanatic or not) I highly recommend you do. The museum alone is worth a visit, with well-known classic Mercedes cars sitting adjacent to brand new supercars and with entry being free, there really isn’t any reason not to.

However, this article isn’t reviewing Mercedes-Benz World. In this article, I want to find out from you, what impact you think the ever-increasing technical options available on cars will have on insurance prices and going one step further, licencing laws.

So, how does this fit in with Mercedes-Benz World? Well, whilst I was visiting, I popped outside to take a quick look at the track. Out of sheer coincidence I was outside at the exact same time the silver arrows (Mercedes-Benz World’s stunt drivers) were preparing to take four lucky winners around their track for a few hot laps. The silver arrows were brilliant, they revved their engines, raced around the track and performed synchronised drifting… I just had to give it a go. And then I heard it… £15 for a hot lap in a Mercedes AMG car, that was my queue, I was straight up to the front desk to book myself in.

"You should have another licence... it's dangerous!"

MrJWW

The car I was taken out in was a circa 2016 Mercedes E63. I had gotten pretty lucky in that I managed to book a slot where I was the only passenger, allowing me to talk directly with the driver. During my lap, I asked him which of the cars was his favourite, (I had secretly wished to be taken out in the C63 S I’d seen earlier) he looked at me, taking his eyes off the road for a split second, before saying “well not this one”. I laughed and agreed, he told me he liked the C63 S and the CLS most. We eventually got to talking about the new E63 S and its ability to send 100% of its torque to the rear-wheels at effectively the click of a button. He hadn’t driven one yet, but that’s when he told me… “If you click that button while on the road, your insurance company won’t cover you if crash it”.

Now this may not be entirely true, and there may be some stipulations, but it does beg the question, with cars getting ever faster and more technologically advanced, will more and more insurers be putting these kind of stipulations in their insurance policies? And if so, are they right to, or should we be allowed to make that decision for ourselves?

Credit: Steven Garcia, Unsplash

YouTuber/car influencer MrJWW has briefly touched on the topic of drivers licences in a few of his past videos. The one that comes to mind is when he takes his McLaren 675lt over to Wales with a 570s lent by McLaren. There, as he drives his car on some beautiful roads, he comes to the conclusion that at some point, whether it be now with the 675lt or in the near future, “You should have another licence…” to drive cars which are that fast.

But don’t listen to me… what do you think? Are insurers right to put stipulations on their policies? Should we require another licence to drive so-called 'faster' cars?

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Comments (3)
  • A really good article! It may be true that cars like the E 63 are getting more technological - but this technology is coming with huge safety benefits. The drift mode allows a Ford driver to perform something he's always been able to do, now in a more controlled manner. And that's not to mention all the other proactive safety technology that the E-Class in particular is fitted with.

    So, in short, cars might be faster and more technological, but they're also safer. So not only should our license cover all, premiums should be coming down. The idea of a different license for different cars is a legislator's dream, and the nightmare for absolutely everybody else.

    1 year ago
    2 Bumps
    • Additionally, fast cars can only be used up to the speed limits in most roads. So as far as it concerns the license (ie, public roads), the speed of a Veyron should be the speed of a...

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      1 year ago
      1 Bump
    • Hi John, thanks as always for your insightful comment and a very good argument! You are right cars these days are a lot safer, and who's to say if we did have to take an extra licence...

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      1 year ago
      1 Bump
  • The problem is bigger than that. As a rule, powerful cars are crammed with technology. It takes a lot of money for the insurer to restore them in case of an incident. With more makers producing powerful cars and making them more affordable, the problem aggravates even further. The number of people who own powerful cars increases while their driving skills remain "unchanged." I'm not speaking there of the probability of incidents. Owning a powerful car, one is more likely to come to a bad end. This type of a car "begs" for the fast and careless driving.

    Surely, the cost of insurance may also be increased, but we need to bear in mind the market demand-and-supply forces. In a way, there exist limits on the insurance even for the poshest cars.

    Thus, the limitations the insurer notes down in the contract sound reasonable to me. And here we may have three solutions:

    1. Continue noting limitations in contracts;

    2. "Prohibit" the car manufacturers to sell too-powerful-and-uncontrolled cars to unskilled drivers (state policies);

    3. Introduce an extra license you write about (or expand, for instance, the applicability of the racing driver licenses).

    P.S. There's also my biased personal observation. As a rule, the more a person hunts for the increase in horsepowers, the less this person understands why on hell he/she needs that many horsepowers. In its turn, this leads to a grave change in a driving culture. The market (manufacturers and insurers) has no option, but to respond to this change. And we end up with more powerful cars, more careless drivers, and more limitations.

    1 year ago
    3 Bumps
    • Hi Ost - thank you so much for your comment. It was great to read your thoughts, and I totally agree! It's very tricky topic.

      Also agree with your three points, of them if i had to...

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      1 year ago
      1 Bump

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