No Insurance - A Victimless Crime?25 February 2005
One third (30%) of all young drivers have driven without insurance and 13% think it is acceptable to drive without insurance because ‘it doesn’t harm anyone’, according to the RAC Foundation and Max Power revealing the results of a new survey today (24th February 2005).
Alarmingly the Max Power survey also found that three-quarters (77%) of people know someone who has driven without insurance and 4% think it is ok to drive without insurance because premiums are too high.
The RAC Foundation and Max Power today aim to dispel the popular myth that driving without insurance is a victimless crime. People who drive without insurance are:
- Six times more likely to drive a non road-worthy vehicle
- Up to nine times more likely to be involved in an accident
- More likely to be involved in a hit and run collision
- Three times more likely to have been convicted of driving without due care and attention
- Ten times more likely to have been convicted of drink driving.
The RAC Foundation and Max Power have compiled a dossier on uninsured drivers:
- One in ten drivers have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
- The Motor Insurance Bureau paid out £500 million to the victims of uninsured motorists last year. This is paid out of the premiums of honest motorists.
- Approximately 5% of all motorists now drive uninsured which adds £30 to £60 to the premiums of other motorists.
- Approximately 16% of uninsured drivers get convicted each year.
- 46% of Max Power readers believe driving without insurance is irresponsible and selfish with a further 37% saying uninsured drivers should be locked up.
The RAC Foundation would like to see more competition in the insurance business with more effort from some companies to attract young drivers. A number of companies refuse to insure young drivers despite the fact that these drivers will become their future customers.
A police crackdown on uninsured drivers would also help to solve the problem. Technology will have a role to play and as databases are improved there will be an important role for Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras (ANPR) to help the police target uninsured drivers. It would also help to have more traffic police on the roads as a visual deterrent.
The police are also going to be given the power to seize and, in appropriate cases, destroy vehicles that are being driven uninsured. Forty-Five per cent of Max Power readers support this measure.
Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC Foundation said:
"Uninsured drivers now account for five per cent of motorists. These drivers cause more accidents and are more likely to be involved in other serious crimes than insured drivers. A higher profile police presence on our roads might help to deter some of the opportunist uninsured who take a calculated risk that they are unlikely to be stopped.
"Sentences also need to act as a deterrent. Many drivers estimate that if they get stopped they might be fined £200, which is often a fraction of their insurance premium. If offenders cannot afford to pay fines, then other appropriate punishments such as community service should be demanded.
"There is also a worry that the problem may be exacerbated as many young drivers believe that they are being priced out of the insurance market. We would like to see more initiatives, such as Max Driver and Pass Plus, with more generous discounts offered to young drivers who participate in extra driver training. Pay as you drive schemes may also help some lower mileage drivers on low incomes."
John Sootheran, editor-in-chief of Max Power said:
"These statistics are frightening, but don’t really surprise me. Typically, young drivers can pay anything from £800 to £2000 a year for motor insurance - and even more if they have a modified car - so, while the fines are just a few hundred pounds, there’s no real incentive to pay a huge insurance premium."