Fleet News

14,000 fleets face prosecution threat

THOUSANDS of fleets that have not kept insurance databases up to date are to have their details handed to police for prosecution in a get-tough campaign by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

The MIB has lost patience with more than 14,000 fleets, running 200,000 vehicles, who have yet to register their vehicles on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), despite the system being up and running for three years and compliancy now a legal requirement.

The MIB has met with the Department for Transport and the Crown Prosecution Service to discuss penalising fleets that have failed to comply with the 4th EU Motor Directive – the European legislation to combat non-insured vehicles that makes this compulsory. More details regarding the prosecution process will be revealed later this year.

Neil Drane, head of the Motor Insurers’ Information Centre at the MIB, said: ‘We’re tired of waiting over three years for some fleets to fulfil their legal requirements.

‘We will be getting the police involved later this year and thousands of files could be heading towards the Crown Prosecution Service.

‘Everyone at the meeting was committed to taking action that will either make rogue fleets comply or face the consequences.’

The issue of non-compliancy is likely to come into sharper focus in the meantime because police forces are linking the database into their automatic numberplate recognition systems (ANPR), which are being installed in an increasing number of patrol cars.

A vehicle not registered on the database will appear to the police as uninsured and is more liable to be pulled over.

Fleet operators were snowed under with the amount of work required when the database was launched in 2001, but according to industry insiders it seems many have since become less rigorous with entering and deleting vehicles as they come and go.

The problem has been that many do not see what the point of the system is and have no incentive to keep records up-to-date. The threat of prosecution is seen by many as an attempt to change that mindset.

Writing in Acfo publication Fleet Operator recently, Southern chairman Liz Hollands, who has been working with the MIB to ensure the database runs smoothly for fleets, said: ‘There was a flurry of publicity and activity when the MID was launched back in mid-2001.

‘We complained about the additional workload in return for no immediate tangible benefits, many of us complied with the requirements and have continued to do so – more or less – and we have heard very little about it since.

‘Certainly, when asking fleet colleagues about their perceptions they shrug their shoulders and say ‘seems okay’.

‘Now this may be okay because they have done nothing and haven’t had any penalties directed at them, or it may be because they are largely compliant and there really are no issues; and it may be okay because they are largely compliant with few issues raised and so what if the occasional entry is late or missing?

‘I suspect that may all be about to change.’

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