Are you a careful driver? If you are, you stand to pay lower insurance premiums once a proposal by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) comes into force. NTSA plans to start sharing information on drivers with insurance companies.
This could see insurance costs go either up or down for individuals depending on their driving history. This will be possible after the rollout of new-generation smart driving licences planned for July.
The smart licences will be accompanied by mobile devices that can read computer chips embedded in the licences and used by police officers to key in information whenever a driver is involved in a traffic incident or offence.
Information on drivers will be accessible through the transport integrated management system (TIMS), which has been developed by NTSA for the management of the road and transport industry. Fernando Wangila, the ICT director at NTSA, said the smart driving licence was being tested and would be ready for rollout in July.
The implementation will be phased over the next three years, giving time to the holders of the old licences to replace them with the new ones. Mr Wangila said insurance companies and other stakeholders would be given access to drivers’ data, but within the parameters of the law.
“We will give them access for as far as they need, but also within the confines of the law. They are stakeholders and were involved from the onset when we started developing TIMS,” said Wangila in an interview.
The smart licence, he said, would have the profile and history of the vehicle’s owner as a driver, including the traffic incidents and offences they have been involved in.
With this information, the insurance companies will be able to determine whether one is a safe or risky driver and use it to set the premiums.
The new licence, which is the size of an identification or ATM card, will also have other features such an e-wallet that can hold money to pay for the services offered by NTSA and other government agencies.
“A driver will be able to load money on the card for payment of services such as renewal of a driving licence or traffic fines,” said Wangila.
There are plans to amend the Traffic Act to allow instant fines on certain traffic offences as well as enable motorists to pay fines electronically.
The system will also be available to financial institutions to verify motor vehicle ownership.