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Clampdown on uninsured vehicles
Cars not in use will attract fines Motorists who fail to renew their car insurance will receive automatic £100 fines even if they do not use their cars under Government plans to target Britain’s 1.5 million uninsured drivers.
Those who fail to pay the fines will have their cars clamped or impounded and, to recover them, will have to pay a release fee on top of the fine and prove that they are insured. The fines will be issued even if drivers are storing their cars on private driveways. The measures, which will be ready for consultation by April and come into force by early next year, are designed to reduce the £500 million annual toll of uninsured drivers involved in accidents.
The cost is borne by all insured drivers and increases the price of the average premium by £30. Uninsured drivers are ten times as likely as insured drivers to have been convicted of drink-driving, six times as likely to drive a non-roadworthy car and three times as likely to have been convicted of driving without due care and attention.
Police gained powers at the end of 2005 to seize uninsured cars. But to use their powers they have to catch the driver at the wheel. Under the new offence of keeping a vehicle while uninsured, the onus will be on drivers to prove that they have insurance or have completed a statutory off-road notification. Drivers will accumulate further £100 fines if they fail to buy insurance after receiving the first fine.
The Department for Transport has yet to decide exactly how the penalty system will work, but drivers may initially be sent a letter telling them they are committing an offence and giving them an opportunity to purchase insurance. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which handles claims by drivers hit by uninsured vehicles, said that there were between 1.5 and 2 million uninsured drivers and only a small fraction were caught each year.
Ashton West, chief executive of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “This will catch those people who take a chance and don’t renew their insurance for a while.” The RAC Foundation welcomed the measure, but said that safeguards would have to be put in place to protect people who were restoring cars and had no intention of driving them without insurance.
Edmund King, the foundation’s director, said that there were dangers in creating an offence which assumed that people were guilty even when their only crime was not to have filled out the correct form. He added: “This will also only catch those people who are already known to the DVLA. The problem with the motoring underclass is that those who pose the greatest risk to others do not appear on databases.
” The Department for Transport confirmed yesterday that it was altering the rules for speed camera funding to remove the suspicion that police and local authority camera partnerships could profit from camera penalties. From April 1, the partnerships will no longer keep any of the fines but will receive a fixed amount to pay for a variety road safety measures, not just cameras. Source: Timesonline Auther: Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent