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Death of the green P Plate?

15th June 2015

  • Almost 70% of drivers have never used a green P plate
  • Three quarters don’t know why they are called P plates
  • Two fifths are completely unaware they exist

green p plateNew research by The Co-operative Insurance reveals almost 70 per cent of drivers never used a P plate when they passed their test (68%).*

The most common reason for drivers not wanting to use a P plate was being unaware they exist (40%). Other reasons included a feeling of embarrassment in displaying the green signs (11%), and not wanting other drivers to behave differently towards them on the road (15%). The results also uncover that 1 in 20 (5%) didn’t think P plates look good on their car.

When looking at the current understanding around P plates, the research highlights that almost three quarters of drivers (72%) don’t actually know what the letter ‘p’ in P plate stands for. Only a quarter (27%) of motorists correctly identified that it stands for ‘probationary’. Incorrectly over half of motorists believe it stands for ‘just passed’ (58%), one in twenty (5%) are certain it stands for ‘proficient’ and 1% even think the green plate denotes an environmentally friendly driver.

Of those who have used a P plate, almost half did so because they felt more confident with them displayed (45%). A third used them because their parents insisted (33%), a quarter (26%) incorrectly thought it was a legal requirement and a fifth (22%) were encouraged by their driving instructor.

Whilst using the P plates the findings show that new drivers have a mixed experience. Almost two fifths felt other drivers were more courteous and patient towards them (39%). And a fifth felt they had more time to make manoeuvres (20%) and that other drivers kept their distance (20%).

However a quarter felt other road users were discourteous, just wanting to get past them (24%) Other negative experiences included other drivers heckling them (16%) or tailgating them (9%). Conversely one in ten new drivers (9%) started to feel silly with them on and so removed them.

That said, over half (56%) of drivers believe that new road users should have to use a green P plate when they pass their tests.

Steve Kerrigan, Head of Telematics at The Co-operative Insurance said: "The research clearly shows that there are a number of misconceptions when it comes to the P plate, with many drivers simply unaware they exist, or not wanting to use them out of fear of embarrassment. For drivers who have just passed their test, they can be a useful tool in providing confidence and helping the transition to driving alone. They also serve to provide warnings to other drivers at particular hazard points such as junctions and roundabouts."


Notes to Editors

*Drivers who have held their licence for up to 15 years.
Research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance with 2,000 UK drivers.

About The Co-operative Young Driver Insurance
The Co-operative’s Smartbox works like a Sat Nav or GPS to record driving style, rewarding safe young drivers with a discount every 90 days. It uses data collected from four different driving parameters, including average speed, acceleration or braking, the time of day the car is driven and how fast corners are taken.

An added bonus of having the SmartBox installed is the useful tracking device meaning stolen cars can be recovered.

An online dashboard, which can also be accessed via a smart app, keeps track of the driving score and performance, enables access to the policy documents 24/7, and provides helpful tips to improve driving.

For further information please contact

Jenna Moss
0161 767 4354 / 07770 441 828

Alex Wilson
0161 767 4281 / 07540 641 368

About the Co-operative Insurance:
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest co-operative business, whose purpose is “Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.” Owned by over eight million members, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 4,500 outlets, with around 87,000 employees and has an annual turnover of £11 billion with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services.

The Group operates across two core divisions of Retail and Consumer Services.

The Consumer Services Division includes Funeralcare, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, Co-operative Insurance, a major UK general insurer and CLS, The Group’s legal services operation. Co-operative Insurance offers business, home, motor and pet insurance products.