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Driving: Car Insurance

Volume 708: debated on Wednesday 11 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many motor car drivers are estimated to be driving without insurance. [HL1903]

A road side survey (Operation V79) was carried out by the Department for Transport in March 2008. 6689 vehicles were stopped at random by police and checked for compliance with driver and vehicle licensing regulations. The recorded level of uninsured drivers from this survey was 1.2 per cent.

However, comparison of the DVLA vehicle register and motor insurance database suggests the total figure of uninsured driving is likely to be higher. In 2005, a comparison of the two databases estimated that about 2.1 million licensed vehicles were being driven by uninsured drivers. The comparison looks at all vehicle keepers and motor insurance policies and does not rely on vehicles being spotted in use on the road. Further work continues on a more recent comparison of the two databases and is undergoing validity checks by departmental statisticians.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with British insurance companies in order to secure affordable premium payments for young drivers. [HL1904]

Passing the practical driving test is seen by many people as being the end of learning to drive. Our wide ranging Learning to Drive consultation paper had said that we wanted to work with both insurers and employers to create a culture where continued and life-long learning become the norm.

On 6 March 2009, the Driving Standards Agency discussed with the insurance industry how they can work together to deliver evidence and evaluate some of our proposed reforms, including new opportunities for post-test training and qualifications. We want to ensure that the improvements result in safer newly qualified drivers, and therefore fewer and less costly claims, so that insurance companies are able to incentivise and reward young people for investing in their continued learning and driving skills development.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to remove unlicensed motor vehicles from public highways and to deter car drivers from driving without adequate insurance. [HL1905]

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) operates a comprehensive package of measures to combat the use of unlicensed motor vehicles on the public highway.

Those who fail to tax their vehicles are subject to enforcement activities ranging from automatic penalties issued if the DVLA’s vehicle records show that vehicle excise duty remains unpaid, through to direct enforcement action such as the wheel clamping, removal from the road for impounding and, ultimately, disposal of the unlicensed vehicle.

Regarding uninsured driving, measures introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 have given the police improved access to the motor insurance database, enabling them better to identify uninsured vehicles using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment.  The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured. In 2008, around 185,000 vehicles were seized.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper of a vehicle for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force. We are consulting on these and the details of a proposed scheme for continuous insurance enforcement.

Rather than relying on the police to spot vehicles in use, continuous insurance enforcement would identify uninsured drivers by regularly comparing DVLA’s vehicle register with the insurance industry’s database. Those who ignored warning reminders that their insurance has expired would be sent a fixed penalty notice and fine of £100, and could be liable to court prosecution and have their vehicle clamped, impounded and disposed of.