Uninsured car drivers
Unfortunately, this is sadly a headline that still draws media attention but research shows that every year, uninsured drivers kill 160 people on the roads across the country and 23,000 injured by uninsured drivers.
On Friday, March 25, 2011, a woman from Dagenham Essex, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for causing death by careless driving and two months to run concurrently for causing death while uninsured. She was also disqualified from driving for two years and will have to resit an extended driving test.
A motorist without insurance is five times more likely to be involved in road collisions, to fail to comply with other road traffic requirements and to be engaged in other criminal activity.
However, new research released has shown there has been a 20% reduction in the number of people driving without motor insurance over the last four years which fell by around 300,000 between 2005 and 2009.
According to the Motor Insurers' Bureau, there were 1.8 million motorists on the road in the UK without valid car insurance. That figure fell to 1.5 million last year.
So what can be done?
Uninsured drivers on Britain's roads face having their cars impounded under new laws which ministers hope will mean lower premiums for law-abiding motorists which is thought to save £30 per premium.
Every vehicle in the country will be checked on a central database, with uninsured owners facing a fine and ultimately having their car seized and crushed. Currently the UK has the highest levels of uninsured driving in western Europe.
Uninsured drivers inflict a major financial burden on other motorists, estimated at around £380 million.
The road safety minister, is expected to approve new regulations in the next few weeks. He said: "We are working closely with the insurance companies to make it mandatory for vehicles to be insured. There are millions of vehicles on our roads that are not insured."
Under the new system the DVLA and the insurance industry will compare databases to identify the owners of cars without insurance. In the first instance they will be sent a letter warning them they could face a fine.
If they fail to obtain insurance, they will be fined £100, and repeat offenders face having their vehicle seized and destroyed. Drivers will still be able to register their car as being off-road to qualify for an exemption from road tax.
At present, driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without insurance against third party risk is an offence. You need to be correctly insured for the vehicle you intend to drive or you could face a fixed penalty notice.
The consequences for drivers taking to the road without insurance include vehicle seizure, a minimum of six licence penalty points, and a maximum fine of £5,000. Around 242,000 offenders are convicted for uninsured driving every year.
Drivers who have their cars seized will also be liable for £150 in recovery fees and still have to prove that they have insurance before they can get their vehicles back.
Young people represent the highest proportion of uninsured drivers in the UK, with 20 per cent of drivers aged between 17 and 20 suspected of being uninsured due to the high premiums they face.
It also revealed that Vauxhall Astras are the cars removed from the road most frequently, followed by BMW 3 Series, Vauxhall Vectra, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa.
Accidents involving Uninsured Drivers?
It's not always clear what will happen if the other driver in an accident is uninsured, but it will be detailed somewhere in your policy. Insurance companies are becoming more and more aware of the need to protect innocent drivers involved in no-fault accidents with those driving illegally.
If you are fully comprehensively insured then any damage caused to your vehicle will be covered by your policy, however you will be expected to pay out the agreed excess and you may also end up losing your no claims bonus into the bargain.
If you have a third party policy then you won't be covered for any damages caused to your own car, but your insurance company will still need to be told about the situation and With holding this information could invalidate future claims.
The uninsured drivers agreement between the government and the MIB ensures that the innocent victims of uninsured drivers don't go uncompensated. The agreement provides arrangements for the MIB to pay compensation to those who suffer personal injury or damage to their property as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
In the case of untraced drivers, compensation can only be claimed for damage to property where the vehicle concerned has been identified.