"Crush or Cure" - Warning For Uninsured Drivers

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The UK has one of the worst records in Western Europe for uninsured driving. 1 in 20 people are driving without insurance.

The UK has one of the worst records in Western Europe for uninsured driving. Of the 40 million vehicles on the road it is estimated that 2 million, that's 1 in 20, are being driven without insurance and that puts an extra £30 on the premium of every honest motorist.

"The UK has one of the worst records in Western Europe for uninsured driving. Of the 40 million vehicles on the road it is estimated that 2 million, that's 1 in 20, are being driven without insurance and that puts an extra £30 on the premium of every honest motorist." Said the managing director of Staveley Head Limited, one of the country's foremost commercial vehicle insurance providers.

For some years the police have had the discretionary authority to dispose of, or crush, vehicles found being driven on the roads without insurance, but now the law is getting even tougher. There is a proposal to give police the same power to crush vehicles which are being kept without insurance, and not necessarily used on the roads; and this is due to take effect in 2011.

Over 150,000 uninsured vehicles were seized by police in 2007 and of those, 60,000 were either crushed or disposed of in some other manner. A fitting punishment you may think, when uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure a further 23,000 every year.

And police are using 21st century technology to more easily and quickly identify uninsured drivers and vehicles. The Motor Insurers Database (MID) was set up only a few years ago by insurance companies and holds the details of all vehicles and drivers insured in the UK. All insurance companies are obliged to notify this information to the MID within a short timescale of any inception, renewal or amendment of a policy. The police make 3.8 million enquiries a month to the MID via instant electronic communication, and the DVLA make over 1.0 million enquiries per month in support of their Electronic Vehicle Licensing operation. So the net is closing very quickly on the offending owner/drivers. At present an uninsured driver will probably only be identified by a police roadside camera with number plate recognition facility, but the new proposed powers will see the MID closely liaise with the DVLA to identify any motorist without insurance.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the Transport Minister and MP for Poplar and Canning Town, supports the initiative and adds that classic car enthusiasts will be exempt if they make the appropriate Statutory Off Road Notice application.

The Staveley Head spokesman added "It just isn't worth the risk of owning a vehicle without the appropriate road risk insurance, be it van insurance, car insurance or truck insurance. The consequences of getting caught without the required road risk cover are going to be very costly for the motorist - and getting caught is going to become increasingly likely."

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Paul Delaney
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