Fleet News

Police prosecution threat over insurance data

Key quote: ‘If it requires substantial fines to bring about the necessary change in behaviour, then so be it.’

MORE than 3,000 fleets will be told this week that unless they supply their vehicle information to the Motor Insurance Database in the next two weeks, their details will be handed to the police for prosecution.

Fleets should spend a few minutes this week making certain their insurers are keeping vehicle details up-to-date, experts have advised, in order to avoid the courts.

Neil Drane, head of the Motor Insurers’ Information Centre at the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), said: ‘We have given rogue policyholders their final warning. Together with the Department for Transport, we will be asking the police and Crown Prosecution Service to take action against these organisations as quickly as possible.’

Earlier this year, the MIB revealed that 14,000 open cover policies, which collectively account for about 200,000 vehicles, were not included on the Motor Insurance Database (Fleet News, April 27).

Drane said: ‘We’re pleased that so many policyholders heeded our earlier warning, but we remain determined to pursue those organisations that have flouted the law for so long. If it requires substantial fines to bring about the necessary change in behaviour, then so be it.’

Fines are likely to amount to £5,000 for those prosecuted. The MIB also warned that the likelihood of offending fleet vehicles being identified by police is likely to rise if the policyholders do not take action.

‘The increased use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras by police forces across the country has resulted in more than 30,000 uninsured vehicles being seized in the UK this year already,’ said Drane.

‘However, police operations are also stopping fleet drivers whose employers have not ensured that the correct insurance policy information appears on the Motor Insurance Database.’

A spokesman for fleet operators’ association ACFO said: ‘We will not condone any fleet that has done nothing to ensure it meets the legal and contractual requirements of including its vehicles on the database, but we believe in many cases there may be a genuine reason why it is not up to date, such as an administrative error.

‘Where there is no genuine reason, perhaps it’s within companies that do not employ a proper fleet manager. We regularly discuss this at ACFO meetings so our members are fully aware of their obligations.

‘Our advice to fleets is not to panic – spend 10 minutes now carrying out a reality check on your fleet to ensure you have done all you can. Contact your insurance company or broker asking if everything is in place. Then if you do receive a letter you’re armed with the relevant information to sort it out quickly.’

MIB executives say that an up-to-date database helps police in their fight against uninsured drivers.

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