Uninsured drivers

AA supports Government consultation on tough new powers

20 January 2009

New measures that make it an offence to keep a vehicle without valid insurance, proposed by the Department for Transport have been welcomed by AA Insurance.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Car Insurance, says: "Britain has one of Europe's worst records for uninsured drivers and they add around £30 to the cost of every honest driver's insurance policy, amounting to around £400m per year. We welcome this latest in a series of moves by the Government to curb this scourge of British motorists.

"The insurance industry is, I believe, well geared up to ensure that car insurance renewals are completed in good time so that customers are not landed with an automatic £100 penalty for failing to insure the vehicle.

"This is, of course, in addition to the penalty for driving without car insurance which attracts a fine of up to £5,000 and six to eight penalty points. Police also have the power to confiscate and dispose of uninsured vehicles."

However, Simon Douglas points out that a sympathetic approach needs to be taken where customers may be away from home or in hospital when their existing policy expires.

"Similarly, the industry needs to work with Government to ensure the Motor Insurance Database holds the right information at the right time – so that for example, law-abiding motorists are not wrongly accused of being without insurance especially if they change insurers.

"We look forward to playing our part in the consultation process but would urge the Government to consider penalties that at least equate to the un-paid-for insurance policy to put an end to continuous offenders who don't tax, insure or even register their cars."

Factfile

Latest estimates are that around 6.5% (about 2m) British motorists drive without insurance (source ABI). The Department for Transport proposal is that the new offence for keeping a vehicle without insurance despite warnings will receive a fixed penalty notice and fine. Failure to take action may result in court prosecution and/or their vehicle being clamped, impounded and ultimately disposed of. Consultation runs until 16 April.

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23 January 2009