The problem of uninsured drivers on our roads today is not one we can afford to ignore. Despite the figures dropping this year, there are still approximately 1.2 million uninsured drivers on the road in the United Kingdom. This is against the law as well as causing problems for anyone involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Currently, the DVLA database of vehicles is cross-checked with the Motor Insurance database of insured vehicles and any owners of uninsured vehicles are sent a letter. If the owner does not immediately insure their car, or inform the DVLA that it is no longer on the road, they can receive penalties or fines. This cross-checking has already reduced the number of uninsured drivers, but with 160 people killed each year by uninsured drivers, and 23,000 injured, there is still work to be done.
Another consequence of the high numbers of uninsured drivers is that it drives up insurance premiums for those of who are responsible enough to insure our cars. The government has decided to help to reduce these premiums by targeting uninsured drivers and improving driving skills among young people. The insurance industry will also be contributing funds to the cost of this scheme.
The Department for Transport is currently planning to give insurance firms access to the DVLA driver record database. This will give them the opportunity to check any details given to them by drivers when they are applying for car insurance. This is intended both to help cut fraud and ensure that insurance providers can make better-informed decisions on who they should offer insurance to, and how much they should charge each driver. Hopefully this will mean that safe, sensible drivers are rewarded with lower premiums, while those drivers who don’t take as much care on the roads are penalised for that behaviour with higher premiums.
Unfortunately, a large portion of crashes and insurance claims involve young drivers, and obviously, the more claims an insurance company has to pay out for, the higher premiums will be overall. In an attempt to improve young drivers’ skills the government will be promoting the use of telematic insurance systems, known as black box technology. This will only work if the detailed data on driving style and skills gathered by the box is used as a teaching tool for new drivers.
It is surprising, but sadly true, that many new drivers simply aren’t aware of the responsibilities that come with car ownership. While many are aware that filling up with fuel, having regular car services and MOTs to checking your car tyres regularly is part of car ownership, some seem to have missed the first step – insure your vehicle.