New powers to target those who merely keep (rather than actually drive) an uninsured vehicle will help the government catch “the selfish minority of uninsured drivers who cost law-abiding motorists £400m each year” and keep them off the roads said Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick who unveiled the new measures yesterday (20 January).
In future the DVLA will work in partnership with the insurance industry to identify uninsured vehicles. Their owners will then receive letters telling them their vehicle appears to be uninsured and warning they must insure it within a set period. Failure to comply will result in a £100 fine. Then if the vehicle remains uninsured – regardless of any fine paid – it could be seized and destroyed.
Government figures suggest that uninsured driving adds around £30 a year to every motorist’s insurance premium – amounting to more than £400m a year in additional premiums ‚ and that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people every year and injure another 23,000.
The police already have powers to seize and destroy vehicles driven uninsured and improved access to the Motor Insurance Database making it easier to detect uninsured driving by using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment. Police removed around 150,000 vehicles (more than 400 a day) in 2007. A new offence of causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured was introduced last year.
Jim Fitzpatrick said: “The selfish minority of drivers who refuse to insure their cars push up premiums for other motorists and kill or injure thousands of people each year. Increased police powers already mean more than 400 uninsured vehicles are seized every day but these tough new measures will leave uninsured drivers with nowhere to hide.”
Latest government estimates indicate that around 6.5% (around 2 million) of GB motorists drive uninsured. The penalty for driving without insurance is a maximum fine of £5,000 and 6-8 penalty points. Around 300,000 offenders are convicted for uninsured driving every year.