A new system to tackle uninsured driving moved a step closer today (18 April 2011) as Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, laid the final regulations in Parliament.
Under continuous insurance enforcement (CIE) it will be an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured.
The regulations laid today will allow the DVLA to take action against those who ignore warnings to get their vehicle insured.
Mike Penning said:
Uninsured drivers injure 23,000 people each year and add £30 to every responsible motorist’s premium so we need to do everything we can to keep them off the roads.
These new powers will help us to take targeted action while freeing up police time to deal with the hard core of offenders.
Under the new system:
- the DVLA will work in partnership with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to identify uninsured vehicles
- motorists will receive a letter telling them that their vehicle appears to be uninsured and warning them that they will be fined unless they take action
- if the keeper fails to insure the vehicle they will be given a £100 fine
- if the vehicle remains uninsured - regardless of whether the fine is paid - it could then be clamped, seized and destroyed - the regulations laid in Parliament today would give the DVLA the powers to take this action
- the vehicle will only be released when the keeper provides evidence that the registered keeper is no longer committing an offence of having no insurance and the person proposing to drive the vehicle away is insured to do so
Vehicles with a valid Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) will not be required to be insured.
It is planned for the first insurance advisory letters (which warn individuals that they appear to be uninsured) to be sent at the end of June following a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the CIE scheme.
The Motor Insurance Database (MID) will be used to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance. All drivers can check their vehicle is recorded on the MID for free.
Notes to editors
Latest estimates are that around 4% (around 1.4 million) of GB motorists drive uninsured. The penalty for driving without insurance is a maximum fine of £5,000 and 6 to 8 penalty points. Around 242,000 offenders are convicted for uninsured driving every year.
Currently every responsible motorist pays an average £30 each year within their premiums to cover crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers. It is also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year.
Measures already introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 gave police improved access to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau database and powers to seize vehicles. In 2009 around 180,000 vehicles were seized.
The Road Safety Act 2006 provided the primary powers for a new offence of being the keeper of a vehicle which does not meet insurance requirements. The offence of keeping a vehicle with no insurance came into force on 4 February 2011 commenced by the Road Safety Act 2006 (Commencement No 6) Order 2011.
Supporting regulations which provided for exceptions to the offence came into force at the same time in the Motor Vehicles (Insurance Requirements) Regulations 2011). This instrument makes exceptions to that offence, provides that liability to conviction for the offence may be discharged by paying a fixed penalty of £100 and provides for the disclosure of information in connection with enforcement.
The Motor Vehicles (Insurance Requirements) (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal) Regulations 2011 will allow persons authorised by the Secretary of State for Transport to fix an immobilisation devise (clamp) to vehicles where it is believed that an offence has been committed, and to remove and dispose of vehicles in relation to the offence of keeping a vehicle with no insurance. It also prescribes the release fee (£100) before the vehicle is released and the evidence individuals have to demonstrate in order to secure the release of the vehicle.
The Road Safety Act 2006 (Commencement No.7) Order 2011 is also made which will provide the mode of prosecution and specify the penalties for the new offences of interfering with or removing an immobilisation notice or device (clamp), and falsely displaying a disabled persons badge with the purpose of avoiding enforcement action.