The Department of Transport has announced new measures aimed at reducing the number of vehicles without car insurance, hopefully bringing down the costs for other drivers.
It will soon become an offence to keep uninsured vehicles that are not declared as being off the road, regardless of whether or not they are being driven, to make it easier to catch uninsured drivers.
In addition to causing 160 fatalities on the roads each year, and injuring a further 23,000 people, uninsured drivers currently cost law-abiding motorists more than £400million a year by pushing up their car insurance premiums to cover the cost - an average £30 extra per driver.
Commenting on the Government's new measures, Paul Clark, Road Safety Minister, said: "We’ve already taken action to force this irresponsible minority off the roads – increased police powers mean more than 400 uninsured vehicles are seized every day. But these tough new measures will catch anyone who is keeping an uninsured vehicle, leaving them with nowhere to hide."
Police already have the power to seize and destroy a vehicle that they find is being driven without insurance, but the new rules go further.
Even if the uninsured car is not being driven, the police will be able to act; the owner will receive a letter warning them that they will be fined unless they insure it within a certain time limit.
If the owner fails to act, they will receive a £100 fine, and if the vehicle remains uninsured – even if the fine is paid – it could be seized and destroyed.
Will Thomas, head of car insurance at Confused.com, said that while some drivers are doing away with car insurance to save money, there are ways of reducing the cost so they don't have to take this drastic measure. "With price comparison making it easier than ever to get the right policy at the right price for a driver's individual circumstances, now is the time to get online and start searching for the best deal," he said.
"All insurers rate differently - some insurance providers specialize in specific risk groups such as younger drivers, learner drivers and female drivers so it is important not to call off the search if renewal prices are higher than expected, as the consequences for going without are not worth the risk."
The British Insurance Brokers' Association also supports the move. Commenting, Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive at BIBA, said: "It is fantastic news that will lead to safer roads for all."
"It is important for people to stay insured for financial protection and to comply with the law." he added.
The harsher rules coming into force follow a new offence introduced last year for causing death by driving without a license, without car insurance, or while disqualified from driving.
Cars registered as being officially off the road, with a valid Statutory off Road Notice (SORN) are not included in the new legislation, but for all other cars, the Department for Transport hopes that the new measures will come into force in the next financial year.
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