British motorists are collectively paying more than £500 million a year extra on their car insurance – an average of £31 per policy – to cover uninsured drivers. Yet the shocking truth is that the average fine for driving without insurance is a laughable £250, barely twice the level of a fine for parking on a single yellow line.
Thankfully, people who drive without car insurance are now more likely than ever before to be stopped by the police. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) stated automatic number plate recognition technology, along with a database containing details of everyone with insurance and tax cover, is helping the authorities catch more rogue road users.
It is hoped that the new recognition technology will deter miscreant drivers getting behind the wheel without motor insurance. Spokesperson Malcolm Tarling of ABI claimed the whole process of catching uninsured and untaxed drivers is now far more efficient than it used to be. He stated the police could tell within minutes of pulling someone over whether they had the necessary protection. “There is none of this having to produce your insurance certificate within seven days, you can tell from the computer screen if you have got cover or not,” he explained.
Last year the DVLA admitted that a million cars on British roads were not registered properly. One of the main reasons for this appears to be the influx of foreign cars driving on British soil which apparently are very hard to keep tabs on. This led the DVLA to launch a campaign in 2008 warning motorists that the new recognition technology will make it virtually impossible to evade insurance and vehicle excise duty from now on. Lets hope so.
Some estimates also suggest that up to four out of every ten motorcyclists are evading tax, costing the Treasury millions of pounds. The Government, the DVLA, the police and the courts must realise that honest drivers’ patience and leniency with the uninsured, unregistered and untaxed is running thin.
Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Susan Kramer commented last month on the behalf of honest motorists: “Much more needs to be done to catch and prosecute uninsured drivers, whose actions cost law-abiding drivers thousands of pounds a year. These figures are bad news for law-abiding motorists,” she added.
Motorists without car insurance are believed to have been involved in 36,000 collisions during 2007. Lets hope the new recognition technology will ensure our roads are full of law-abiding citizens in the near future.