Fleet News

Uninsured drivers face a crackdown

GOVERNMENT plans to crack down on uninsured drivers have been criticised by industry experts who are calling for a sterner approach to help make the roads safer for fleets.

Measures to tackle the problem were announced by Road Safety Minister David Jamieson last week.

These include more power given to police forces, fixed penalties for people failing to insure after several reminders and links to databases showing police which drivers are not insured.

The Government believes there are one million uninsured drivers in the UK.

However, John Lewis, the director general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, whose members provide hundreds of thousands of fleet cars a year, believes that this is not enough.

He said: ‘If the Government is serious about this problem then we have to make uninsured driving as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

‘A £200 fine is no deterrent to someone who can save £300-£500 a year by not buying insurance and who will get away with that for up to six years. A swingeing fine, community service or, in more extreme cases, a custodial sentence are the only options that will be effective.’

According to the RAC Foundation approximately 5% of all drivers have no insurance which can add £30 to £60 to the cost of insuring a car for motorists.

Edmund King, executive director at the RAC Foundation, also believes that more should be done to ease the burden of uninsured drivers.

He said: ‘Sentences need to act as a deterrent. Many drivers estimate that if they get stopped they might be fined £200, which is often a fraction of their insurance premium. If offenders can not afford to pay fines, then other appropriate punishments such as community service should be demanded.’

The actual cost of uninsured drivers totals £200 million a year and Government figures estimate that uninsured drivers are 10 times more like to have been convicted of drink-driving and six times more likely to have been convicted of driving an unsafe vehicle.

Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) estimated that fleet costs could be cut by £100 million if the UK wiped out uninsured driving (Fleet NewsNet, July 15).

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