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New rules mean it's illegal to keep an uninsured vehicle, not just drive one...

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.

8 comments

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step-hent [719 posts] 5 years ago
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This didnt make any sense to me until I read the sentence about SORN. But it seems sensible to put insurance requirements on the same footing as VED. I did wonder why this story is on a cycling website though...  39

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danbar6 [1 post] 5 years ago
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exactly right - why not adopt the ozzie system (Northern Territory anyway).

make minimal, bulk bought 3rd party insurance an integrated part of Road Fund licence/VED

stick the £30 or so we already pay in artificially elevated insurance premium onto VED, and then the presence of a tax disc means that the vehicle you see on the road is insured to the legal minimum at least.

If you have an old beater car you probably wont pay for additional insurance above this, but from the point of view of other road users including cyclists this doesnt matter.

I suspect the vested interests of the insurance industry and brokers would hate such an arrangement though..! probably why it hasnt gained traction yet as an idea.

thoughts?...

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thereverent [398 posts] 5 years ago
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A step in the right direction, but not enough.

Quote:

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.

With the normal penalty being much lower too many people think they can get away with it. THese driver are alos more likely to have a unroadworthy car, drive dangerously, and fail to stop after an accident.
A higher penalty for this is needed, along with some actual enforcement.

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OldRidgeback [2567 posts] 5 years ago
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I have to say, it's an ill-considered bill attempting to deal with a problem that could be more effectively handled by proper enforcement of existing laws. many people have more than one vehicle and choose not to insure them at certain times of the year, while keeping the road tax up to date. I know as I've had two motorcycles in the recent past and would alternate between using them, depending on the time of year.

The thing is, the police and insurance companies can share information on which vehicles are insured at present. Using ANPR technology, this would allow police to be alerted to the presence of uninsured vehicles as they drive past and current laws give the police sufficient powers to deal with offenders. What this new bill brings is additional unnecessary and costly bureaucracy that will guzzle up tax money in pen pushing and increase costs for vehicle owners, while only partially dealing with the problem. Law abiding vehicle owners will follow the rules and law breakers will find a way round them, probably with a far greater incidence of vehicle cloning than at present.

Whoever thought of this bill is a naive fool with little understanding of the actual problem or of genuine solutions for it.

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mattsccm [327 posts] 5 years ago
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More crap. Like many people my tax doesn't match my insurance period. cashing tax in is not always worth while and it helps sell a car. So now I have to pay a effing fortune to keep it at home. What about those with tax free cars. My dad can keep his taxed all year but he insures it for the summer 3 months.
Disgusting.
Even SORN is stupid. It's no one business where and how I keep my cars. Surely if it's not taxed it should be automatically SORNed.
I despair at the idiots that run this country.

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Municipal Waste [238 posts] 5 years ago
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danbar6 wrote:

exactly right - why not adopt the ozzie system (Northern Territory anyway).

make minimal, bulk bought 3rd party insurance an integrated part of Road Fund licence/VED

stick the £30 or so we already pay in artificially elevated insurance premium onto VED, and then the presence of a tax disc means that the vehicle you see on the road is insured to the legal minimum at least.

If you have an old beater car you probably wont pay for additional insurance above this, but from the point of view of other road users including cyclists this doesnt matter.

I suspect the vested interests of the insurance industry and brokers would hate such an arrangement though..! probably why it hasnt gained traction yet as an idea.

thoughts?...

Better still, do away with VED and factor the cost of this and a mandatory insurance into petrol prices. After all there are plenty of un-taxed vehicles running around that wouldn't get the 'VED insurance' but there certainly aren't any cars driving around without fuel!

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workhard [397 posts] 5 years ago
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Municipal Waste wrote:

Better still, do away with VED and factor the cost of this and a mandatory insurance into petrol prices. After all there are plenty of un-taxed vehicles running around that wouldn't get the 'VED insurance' but there certainly aren't any cars driving around without fuel!

The (only) downside of that route is that you can't load a premium for a driver with a poor record so it could be argued that you and I are subsidisding them and the system would encourage their recklessness.

So I'd like third party cover provided by fuel surcharge AND fire theft and comp add-ons done via a VED scheme but I'd do away with the 'tax disc' and make the payment integral to number plates. Yep, new plates every year with a big prominent, machine readable logo on it, camera's abounding and enforcement people paid through the revenue the scheme generates. No tax? Confiscate the car. If roadworthy; sold at auction, if not crushed.

Avatar
workhard [397 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
thereverent wrote:

A step in the right direction, but not enough.

Quote:

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.

With the normal penalty being much lower too many people think they can get away with it. THese driver are alos more likely to have a unroadworthy car, drive dangerously, and fail to stop after an accident.
A higher penalty for this is needed, along with some actual enforcement.

The avg penalty is far too low. So low in fact it is cheaper than the numpties insurance premium would be. Oh yeah and they may get a drviing ban. That will stop them driving obviously.