A new legal framework to address the issue of uninsured drivers, estimated to account for 4 per cent of motorists, is moving ahead with Road Safety Minister Mike Penning due to lay the final regulations before Parliament later today.
The new rules make it illegal to keep an uninsured vehicle. Currently, it is only an offence to drive while uninsured. The DVLA will have powers to take action against those drivers who ignore warnings to obtain insurance.
Currently, the penalty for driving without insurance is a maximum fine of £5,000 and 6-8 penalty points, with just under a quarter of a million offenders convicted annually.
It is estimated that motorists who do take out insurance pay an additional £30 each year due to the cost of drivers who are uninsured. The latter, combined with drivers who cannot be trace, kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year.
Mr 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.”
From now on, the DVLA will work alongside the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to identify those vehicles that are uninsured and write to the motorists concerned telling them that records show there is no insurance in force and that they will be fined unless they take action.
A £100 fine will be imposed on motorists ignoring that warning. Should the vehicle remain uninsured, then irrespective of whether or not the fine has been paid, it may be seized and destroyed under new powers granted to the DVLA.
The vehicle will only be returned to the owner if they can prove that they have insurance.
The new regulations do not apply to those vehicles subject to a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).
The first letters under the new regulations are due to be sent out at the end of June following a publicity campaign.
Drivers can check that records relating to their vehicle are up to date on the new Motor Insurance Database.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.