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Transport: Illegal Drivers

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 7 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to reduce the number of drivers using cars without licences or insurance. [HL5349]

The Government are concerned about vehicles being driven on our roads by drivers who do not have the correct driving entitlement or appropriate insurance.

To tackle those driving without a licence, we do all that we can to assist the police and the courts in detecting and prosecuting cases of unlicensed driving. A critical step has been the provision to the police of 24-hour access to accurate and up-to-date driver licensing information (including a photograph where appropriate) at the roadside to assist detection and enforcement. There are also good IT links between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the courts to assist in effective prosecution of offenders.

We have already introduced a number of measures to tackle insurance evasion. In 2005, police access to the motor insurance database was improved. This enabled them to have data on uninsured vehicles for use with their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force and the detail of the scheme will be consulted on this autumn. The new offence will allow enforcement action to be taken where it is shown from the record that there is no valid insurance in place. The intention is to roll the new scheme out from 2010-11.

In August 2008, a new offence of causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured was introduced, carrying a custodial sentence of up to two years.