Clause 39 - Disclosure of information about insurance status of vehicles

Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 1st February 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Question proposed,, That the clause stand part of the debate.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike Labour, Burnley

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 66. If there is a debate now, I will put the stand part question with the question formally on amendment No. 66 when we reach it in, I hope, not too long a time.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

How will the clause work in practice? It talks about a register of people who have the right to drive a vehicle and are covered for insurance against third-party risks. Obviously, many of those people can drive vehicles of which they are not the main keeper or the owner as a result of the conditions set out in their insurance, which says that they can drive the car for which they are insured and the vehicle belonging to someone else with their permission, but if they do so they will be insured only for third-party risks.

Let me give a practical example. If I drive my wife's car using my own insurance, how is the information that it is insured for third-party risks conveyed to the register? We have a different system from the continent. In this country, it is the driver rather than the vehicle that is insured.

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

Clause 50 that the disclosure of information, under clause 39, about the insurance state of vehicles extends only to England and Wales. That is an error, as it should provide that clause 39 extends to England, Wales and Scotland. So here we go again, Mr. Pike. Amendment No. 66 rectifies that error by providing that the clause extends to England, Wales and Scotland.

In layperson's terms, clause 39 ensures that the police have a database showing vehicles that are no longer insured. Through the automatic number plate reading system, they can pick up the vehicles on the database that are actually on the road. The police officer does not have to stop the vehicle to do that. He can do it using new technology.

As for the example given by the hon. Member for Christchurch, there is usually a condition that one cannot drive another car unless somebody else has insurance on that vehicle. One of the conditions of driving somebody else's car is that it has current insurance. It cannot be a vehicle that has no insurance. For the time that someone drives the insured vehicle, any claim would be made against his insurance rather than the keeper or owner of the vehicle who had taken out separate insurance. He may be driving the car and, although he has insurance that covers him for driving other vehicles, unless valid insurance is held on that car by somebody else, he may be driving uninsured.

The police, through the ANPR, would pick up those vehicles that did not have specific insurance on them. I am sure that hon. Members will agree that it is an excellent method for the police to dispose quickly of   those people who are insured. They would not have to bother with them, but the people who are not insured would be picked up rapidly and brought to book.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.