AA Insurance

British drivers support new insurance law

24 November 2009

Over two-thirds of British drivers support Government plans to introduce a new offence of 'keeping a vehicle without insurance.'

The AA/Populus survey questioned 13,905 AA members1 and found that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) agreed with the Continuous car insurance proposals, 43 per cent agreeing strongly.

"This is just one more step in the vital fight against uninsured drivers as the new offence means that there will be no hiding place," says Paul Watters, the AA's head of public affairs.

Every vehicle must be either insured or subject to a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) whether or not the vehicle is kept on the public highway. With police ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) equipment drawing on both the DVLA database and Motor Insurance Database, officers will be able to check whether any UK-registered vehicle is legal.

Police already do have and do use powers to confiscate uninsured vehicles on the public highway. Under new legislation they will also have the power to issue penalties for offending vehicles that are on private land.

However, the research found that young drivers (18-24) were less likely to agree that the new legislation is a good idea with only 25 per cent strongly in favour (compared to 43 per cent overall). Women were also more supportive – three-quarters (75 per cent) in favour against 64 per cent of men.

In an earlier AA/Populus study2 of 10,112 AA members on opinion about police use of ANPR equipment, 65 per cent agreed they felt safer with the increasingly widespread use of the technology to catch uninsured drivers and believed it to be a useful tool.

Watters concluded: "While this strength of public opinion is welcome, the police need to be pragmatic in their use of the technology. Safeguards must be in place to ensure that where offences are committed inadvertently, for example through illness delaying renewal of insurance or where a simple registration number mistake has been made on an insurance certificate, drivers are dealt with sympathetically.

"If it becomes clear that the new legislation is a blunt instrument, this public support could quickly evaporate."

Currently, 1 out of every 20 drivers is estimated to be driving without insurance, costing every honest policyholder about £30 on their annual car insurance premium.

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3 December 2009

1Research conducted 2-8 June 2009
2Research conducted 27 February-9 March 2009