Clamping down on uninsured drivers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for liz blog.jpgAfter what seems an incredibly long time, the Government has made a definitive move to clamp down on uninsured drivers. Hurrah - you would think - but the move has not really been met with the jubilation one might have anticipated.

This week Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP, announced that under the new powers it will be an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured.

Biba has been banging the drum for Continuous Insurance Enforcement for as long as we can remember and obviously they are delighted with the news which I imagine they see as the product of years of hard lobbying.

Graeme Trudgill, Biba's head of corporate affairs has spoken out in the press saying that he thinks the move will create a fairer system for responsible motorists.

Yet, after all that hard work, not everyone seems to agree with him.

In fact certain brokers have argued that the powers will actually penalise those who have made genuine mistakes or have reasons for having a car off the road. They fear this group will suffer rather than the repeat offenders responsible for the apparent extra £30 that we all have to pay to cover the cost of crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers.

Others such as Direct Line have argued that the Government has not gone far enough. In order for the new powers to act as an effective deterrent, they have called for greater clarity on how the fines will be issued. Speaking for the great British public, they think that people want harsher penalties, larger fines and a hotline to give information on those driving uninsured. But most of all, people apparently want decisive action.

Looking at the forums of the national papers, they may be spot on.

The new system will be launched this spring and will compare records on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) with those held on the DVLA Vehicle Database to identify keepers of uninsured vehicles.

If drivers do not buy insurance, or submit a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN), they could face a fixed penalty of £100, prosecution with a fine of up to £1,000, and/or wheel clamping.

Presently many feel that the fines dished out by the courts to people who seek to drive without even trying to arrange insurance are insufficient. After all, what is the point of handing out a £300 fine to someone who would have to pay over £2,000 for insurance in the first place?

It is also possible to question the point of handing out driving bans to people caught driving without a licence.

One sage broker told me that the only way to penalise such people is to fine them an amount higher than what they feel they have saved in trying to avoid insuring in the first place. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?

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