Staveley Head

January 26, 2011 00:30 ET

Laid-Up Vehicles Will Require Insurance by Law

CHESHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2011) - Within months the Government is to introduce new powers in its ongoing fight to tackle uninsured driving. The new legislation will make it an offence, not only to drive an uninsured vehicle, but also to own one. This means that vehicles which are laid-up and never driven on the roads will be required to carry insurance.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said "Uninsured drivers push up premiums for other motorists and often drive with no regard for other road users, so it is vital that we do everything we can to keep them off the roads. More than 400 uninsured vehicles are already being seized by the police every day but it is simply not possible to catch every uninsured driver in this way. That is why we are bringing in these new powers which will help us to take targeted action while freeing up police time to deal with the hard core of offenders."

Under the new system the DVLA will work in partnership with the Motor Insurers' Database to identify uninsured vehicles. Owners will then receive a warning letter telling them they will receive a £100 if they do not insure the vehicle. If the vehicle remains uninsured it could then be seized and destroyed. Vehicles with a valid Statutory Off Road Notice will not be affected.

It is estimated that 1.4 million motorists, around 4%, drive uninsured. The maximum fine for the offence is £5,000 with 6-8 penalty points and around 242,000 offenders are convicted every year. In 2009 some 180,000 vehicles were seized.

A spokesman for Staveley Head, one of the UK's leading van insurance providers, said " We all support initiatives which are aimed at reducing the number of uninsured drivers on Britain's roads, but I'm not sure this is a step in the right direction. Many of our clients who operate commercial vehicles are feeling the effects of the recession and are reducing the size of their fleets temporarily by laying-up vehicles in the hope that there might be an upturn in the not too distant future. The cost of this additional insurance, on top of the spiralling price of fuel, is not going to be accommodated with enthusiasm. Surely it's about time the Government made some concessions for the professional driver. A reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty would be a start."

The Department for Transport has made the Commencement Order to make it an offence to be the registered keeper of an uninsured vehicle and further regulations will shortly be made allowing the scheme to come into force in the spring.

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