AA Insurance has welcomed the progress being made by the Department for Transport in putting the new Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation into effect.
The new regulations make it an offence to keep a vehicle that is uninsured, rather than just to drive when uninsured, unless it is subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
The DVLA and MID (Motor Insurance Database) are already exchanging information to build up a list of vehicles that have neither insurance or a SORN and the legislation will allow the DVLA to take action against car owners who ignore written warnings to get their vehicle insured.
However, according a an AA/Populs study of nearly 13,000 AA members, an extraordinary six out of 10 (59%) had not heard about the new law and of the balance who were aware of it, 38% said they ‘don’t know what it means’.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says: “This tough action is to be welcomed but it is vital that the Government undertakes a campaign to increase awareness.
“There are estimated to be about 1.4 million cars: about 1 out of every 25, being driven on Britain’s roads without insurance. This is a shocking indictment and one of the worst records in Europe. Any step that prevents uninsured drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place must be worthwhile.
“Driving without insurance is not a victimless crime and honest drivers each pay on average about £30 of their car insurance premium as a contribution towards the cost of the damage and injury such drivers cause.”
Every year, uninsured and untraceable drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000, as well as causing millions of pounds worth of damage to other vehicles and property.
Adds Mr Douglas: “The police already do a great job using automatic number plate equipment technology to stop vehicles that are being driven without insurance. They convict about 242,000 uninsured drivers every year and last year, confiscated about 180,000 cars, most of which were crushed.”
Mr Douglas also called for harsher penalties for those caught driving without cover. “The maximum fine available to the courts is £5,000, yet the average meted out is only £200, considerably less than the cost of insuring a vehicle in the first place. Such small fines are ludicrous if you compare them with the £1,000 fine for not having a television license, for example.
“Most uninsured drivers are young men, often with a string of previous driving offences and disqualifications behind them and would thus be uninsurable****. But I believe the penalty should at least reflect the premium that would typically be paid for a person of that age: they should not be able to get away with a paltry fine and go on to offend again.”
Source : The AA Press Release