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RAC wants uninsured drivers punished

Uninsured motorists could have their cars seized by police and even destroyed under Government plans.

Fixed penalty fines could also be imposed on drivers who ignore reminders that their insurance has expired.

In addition, official vehicle registers and motor insurance databases could be linked so police would know which vehicles on the road were uninsured.

The plans, which will target the estimated one million motorists who drive without insurance, were announced at the launch today of an independent report into uninsured driving by Professor David Greenaway, a professor of economics at Nottingham University.

The report makes recommendations for reducing what the Government sees as ‘the current unacceptable levels of uninsured driving in the UK’.

The Department for Transport (DfT) now plans to give the police power to seize and, in appropriate cases, destroy vehicles that are being driving uninsured.

The DfT also wants to see, and is in discussion with, relevant stakeholders:

  • Concerted action by insurance companies to continue to improve the motor insurance database
  • Simpler and clearer notification procedures so that no one is in any doubt when their insurance expires
  • Automatic reminders sent out to those motorists who forget to insure on time.

    Research by the RAC Foundation shows that more than a third of male drivers (35.1%) aged 18 – 20 have driven without insurance or a licence.

    Approximately 5% of all motorists now drive uninsured - adding £30 to £60 to the premiums of other motorists.

    The RAC Foundation supports a vehicle confiscation scheme successfully trialled in West Yorkshire, where seized cars are impounded. Drivers must pay £105 and show proof of insurance to get their car back otherwise it will be crushed.

    The Motor Insurance Bureau had to pay out £500m to the victims of uninsured motorists last year. Which is paid out of the premiums of insured motorists.

    Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, says: ‘Uninsured drivers now account for 5% of motorists. These drivers cause more accidents and are more likely to be involved in other serious crimes than insured drivers. A higher police presence on our roads might help to deter some of the opportunist uninsured who take a calculated risk that they are unlikely to be stopped.

    The reduction in traffic police has been linked to the increase of speed cameras. Unfortunately the speed camera does nothing to deter the uninsured motorist.

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