The fleet industry is facing up to a major administration burden as a consequence of new powers coming into force to tackle uninsured drivers.
From June the Government will enforce the new Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme under which it will be an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than to drive when uninsured.
As a result, the onus is on the ‘registered keeper’ of a vehicle to ensure that it is insured and is listed on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), which is managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
The MID will be checked against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) taxed vehicles database. The registered keepers of any taxed but uninsured vehicles will receive ‘advisory letters’ outlining the actions they need to take to avoid enforcement action.
If vehicle owners fail to take action, a series of escalating penalties will be triggered - starting with a £100 fixed penalty notice and progressing to vehicle clamping, seizure and disposal and a potential court prosecution with a fine of up to £1,000.
Neil Drane, head of database services at the MIB, said: "CIE will further reduce the level of dishonest motorists avoiding their responsibilities. To ensure no genuine motorists are innocently caught up I urge everyone to check their vehicle is registered on the MID by visiting askMID.com."
Although the MIB admits it doesn’t know how many uninsured fleet cars and vans are on the roads - 53,000 has been reported - evidence suggests that there could be thousands, with the public sector particularly laissez-faire in their legislative compliance, according to one leasing company spoken to by Fleet News.
The authorities have launched an awareness drive to remind all vehicle owners of the law change, which means vehicles must be kept insured unless the DVLA has received notification that they are being kept off the road and has issued a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).
Currently every responsible motorist pays an average £30 each year within their premiums to cover crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers, says the Department for Transport. It is also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 annually. Latest estimates are that around 1.4 million (4%) British motorists drive uninsured.
ING Car Lease, one of the UK’s largest contract hire and leasing companies with 50,000 company cars and vans on its books, conducted an audit of its fleet to find out how many were not MID registered.
A total of 1,153 vehicles were highlighted with the vast majority of those leased by the public sector, according to Jon Gilbert, the company’s director of customer service.
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