Uninsured drivers increase the cost of car insurance
By: Michael Challiner
One in twenty cars on the road are being driven uninsured and a third of all drivers have at one time or another driven without insurance. And it’s a fact that uninsured drivers cause more accidents and are more likely to be involved in criminal activity than insured drivers.
So what are the facts?
• 10% of drivers have had an accident involving an uninsured driver.
• 13% of young drivers believe that driving without insurance doesn’t harm anyone and therefore it’s acceptable.
• Last year the Motor Insurance Bureau paid out £500 million to parties injured by uninsured motorists. This money has to be paid by someone – inevitably it has to be paid out of the premiums of honest motorists. In fact, each insured driver is paying between £30 and £60 within their annual premium to cover the insurance industry’s costs associated with these uninsured drivers
• Around 17% of uninsured drivers are convicted each year.
People who drive without insurance are:
• up to ten times more likely to be involved in an accident.
• six times more likely to drive a vehicle that is non road-worthy.
• Considerably more likely to be involved in a hit and run accident
• four times more likely to be convicted of driving without due care and attention
• eleven times more likely to be convicted of a drink driving offence.
We believe that the Police must crack down on uninsured drivers. There is clearly an important role for Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras to assist Police target uninsured drivers. And more traffic police must be present on our roads to act as a visual deterrent.
We also support the police powers which allow them to seize and in some cases destroy vehicles that are being driven without insurance.
We also want to see court sentencing tact as a real deterrent to uninsured driving. When drivers do get stopped for being uninsured, many gamble that they’ll be given a modest fine of around £200 which for many is a fraction of the annual premium they’d have to pay. If offenders can’t afford to pay fines (and many will argue just that), then other appropriate sanctions such as community service must be imposed.
Premiums for younger drivers can be very costly and this effectively prices them out of the market. The problem is that this doesn’t prevent them from driving - so they become one of the one in twenty that drive around uninsured. We would like to see more effort from some insurance companies to attract younger drivers and make their policies affordable for younger drivers. For example, pay as you drive schemes for low mileage drivers and drivers on low incomes.
We also support initiatives such as Pass Plus and Max Driver, with more generous discounts for younger drivers who take extra driver training.
So in summary, we are calling for:
• Higher rates of prosecution for uninsured drivers and appropriate sentences to act as a deterrent.
• Greater use of technology, to help catch them. For example, use the Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras to catch them red handed.
• More visible police presence
• More initiatives from the insurance industry to encourage young drivers to pay for car insurance.
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