Insure your car or face a criminal record, says ABI

24 February 2005
The Association of British Insurers has called for owning an uninsured motor vehicle to be made a criminal offence.

Speaking yesterday, the ABI claimed that accidents involving uninsured vehicles cost around £500 million each year, adding an average of £30 to every motorists' annual premiums.

Despite this, insurers believe that the problem is not given enough attention by police.

"The reality is that the chances of being caught driving without insurance are very slim - police rarely make stops to check if drivers are insured," Malcolm Tarling of the ABI told BBC News.

"By making it illegal to own an uninsured vehicle, detection rates could shoot up because we have the information to check instantly if a vehicle is insured."

The ABI is proposing bringing together vehicle registration and insurance databases, in order to allow fines to be sent to owners of uninsured vehicles through the post.

The proposal comes after a report from Professor Greenaway proposed more severe penalties for uninsured driving in August 2004.

At present, it is not an offence simply to own such a vehicle. It is only against the law to drive one on the road.

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