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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.