Removing Red Tape – Or an Invitation to Drive Uninsured?
We all know we have to insure our cars and motorcycles and it’s so that if they get stolen, or get damaged in an accident, well we will get compensated for their loss, or our vehicle will be repaired, without us having to pick up the tab. There is also a legal requirement and if we ignore it, we can get fined and even lose our vehicle, so most of us do exactly what we should.
There are however a group of road users that regularly decide not to do that, preferring to save the cash and drive uninsured and they really don’t care about getting nicked, or about losing their car and worst still, they don’t care if they hit your car, crash into a cyclist, or run over a pedestrian.
Clearly we need to make sure this can not be allowed to happen but figures in the UK suggest that one out of every 25 motorists is driving uninsured, giving the UK have one of the poorest records across all of Europe.
One of the ways insurance is checked “at least once a year” is when we tax our cars, as if we go to the Post Office, to get our tax disc, we need to take paper copies of both our insurance and MoT, along with us. Taxing on-line, well the insurance and MoT status is electronically checked.
Would it surprise you then to know that the DVLA are proposing to remove the insurance check when car owners apply for a tax disc! Well, that’s what the AA is saying and if that’s the case, we need to be finding someone new to steer the DVLA ship, because surely, from anyone’s perspective, this is ludicrous? “I say that, but if you are one of the drivers that never insures their vehicle, yippee – its happy days”
OK, the proposal is that they will rely on what’s referred to as “Continuous Insurance Enforcement” which was introduced last year and relies on the Police using automatic number plate recognition technology to identify uninsured vehicles on the road “after the event”. How silly is that? Surely we are better off to at least keep the simple and fool proof check in place when the road tax is applied for every 6 or 12 months?
Car insurance, just like any insurance, is pretty much a distress purchase, because there is a tendency to think at the end of the year that you’ve paid out loads of money to be insured and well, nothing went wrong and you didn’t need to make a claim, so you’ve wasted your money. Unfortunately, that’s how it works. But where its different with car insurance is that unlike say home insurance that might cost you a few hundred quid, car insurance can easily cost £1000’s, particularly if you are young, or drive a powerful car, or don’t have any experience or track record. We have situations where people that would normally pay a fairly substantial premium are happy to take the risk. They go out and buy a cheap used car and often a powerful one (because old big engined cars are as cheap as chips to buy) and drive it around until they get nicked and if they lose the car to the police, well so what, the loss is less than the cost they would have paid for their insurance cover. The fine for driving without insurance can be as high as £5,000, but its “means tested” so invariably means that the fine imposed is no where near that figure, usually £100 – £200 and points on your licence, particularly if the offender is unemployed or simply has nothing. The system means if they don’t get banned, what’s to stop them from going out the very next day and buying another cheap car and away they go again?
We do agree that there really shouldn’t be the need to take lots of documents and stuff with you when you get your car taxed at the post office, but this is a real problem and as the checks are already “on-line” when taxing from home, why cant the post office do exactly the same thing getting immediate results, just by entering a registration number or reference number? Simples you would think, but as we already know that one in 25 motorists is driving uninsured and that’s one of the worst figures in Europe, why would we remove one of the legislative requirements that at least helps in some way to control this problem?a