UK

Uninsured vehicles subject to new rules and fines

A woman driving a car
Image caption An advertising campaign reminding motorists of the law change is being launched by the government

Motorists are being reminded that a new law comes into force in a month's time which will require them to make sure their vehicle is insured.

An advertising campaign is being launched to publicise the change, which means from 20 June people can be fined without actually driving the car.

There are estimated to be about 1.4 million motorists without insurance.

At the moment uninsured drivers are prosecuted only after they have been caught actually driving.

Although police cars have number plate recognition technology which can check cars against a database, it still requires police time to enforce.

The new offence will allow motorists to be prosecuted for simply owning a vehicle without insurance.

Letters will be sent to drivers and, if they do nothing, they face a £100 fine followed by court action.

If the vehicle remains uninsured - regardless of whether the fine is paid - further action will be taken. If the vehicle is on public land it could then be clamped, seized and destroyed.

Alternatively court action could be taken, with the offender facing a fine of up to £1,000.

Motorists who have declared their car as off the road will not be fined.

'Nowhere to hide'

Ministers say the change will allow police to concentrate their efforts on hard core offenders, who drive unregistered cars which the automatic system will not be able to trace.

Road Safety minister Mike Penning said: "Uninsured drivers are a danger on our roads, killing 160 and injuring a further 23,000 people each year, and they cost honest motorists £500m in extra premiums.

"That is why we are introducing this tough new law which will leave uninsured drivers with nowhere to hide.

"Our message is clear - get insured or face a fine, court action or seeing your car seized and destroyed."

Ashton West, chief executive at the Motor Insurers' Bureau, said the change in law is a "stepping up of enforcement activity".

He added: "Now the registered keeper must make sure that their vehicle is insured all the time.

"Around four percent of vehicles have no motor insurance at any given time, and this needs to change so that is why this new enforcement approach is so important."

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