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Driving: Car Insurance

House of Lords written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to remove unlicensed motor vehicles from public highways and to deter car drivers from driving without adequate insurance.

Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Minister of State, Department for Transport, Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) operates a comprehensive package of measures to combat the use of unlicensed motor vehicles on the public highway.

Those who fail to tax their vehicles are subject to enforcement activities ranging from automatic penalties issued if the DVLA's vehicle records show that vehicle excise duty remains unpaid, through to direct enforcement action such as the wheel clamping, removal from the road for impounding and, ultimately, disposal of the unlicensed vehicle.

Regarding uninsured driving, measures introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 have given the police improved access to the motor insurance database, enabling them better to identify uninsured vehicles using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured. In 2008, around 185,000 vehicles were seized.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper of a vehicle for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force. We are consulting on these and the details of a proposed scheme for continuous insurance enforcement.

Rather than relying on the police to spot vehicles in use, continuous insurance enforcement would identify uninsured drivers by regularly comparing DVLA's vehicle register with the insurance industry's database. Those who ignored warning reminders that their insurance has expired would be sent a fixed penalty notice and fine of £100, and could be liable to court prosecution and have their vehicle clamped, impounded and disposed of.

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