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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Time's up for uninsured drivers
Policeman at a road accident
Police will use the database to save time and money
Motoring chiefs have unveiled a database which stores the details of every insured driver in the UK.

The Motor Insurance Database, which has been developed in partnership with the government, police and insurance industry, will crackdown on uninsured drivers.

For the first time, police officers will be able to carry out roadside checks to determine whether a driver is insured, and vehicle owners will no longer need to produce their insurance certificates at police stations.

It is good news for law-abiding motorists who will be relieved for the burden of subsidising the dishonest motorist

Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth

The database could also reduce motor insurance premiums.

It is estimated that insured UK motorists pay 25-30 each per year from their premiums to make up for drivers who are not insured.

Crackdown on dodgers

A number of European countries, including Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Spain, already use similar databases.

Motor Insurers' Information Centre
Motor Insurers' Information Centre: Lead initiative

While about 5% of drivers or 1.25m drivers are uninsured, these European countries have cut evasion levels to around 1% since introducing the database system.

At the moment, only 300,000 drivers are convicted of insurance offences each year, but the effect of uninsured driers on the insurance industry is estimated at more than 400m each year.

The Association of Chief Police Officers estimates that it will save the police more than 15m a year in bureaucracy costs

Initiative leader

The database's creation has been spearheaded by the Motor Insurers' Information Centre.

Andy Homer, the centre's chairman, said: "The database will mean fewer instances of insured drivers having to produce their paperwork at a police station to verify insurance.

"This will reduce a costly paper chase for the police and allow more time to be focused on catching the real criminals.

"Finally, by reducing the costs of uninsured driving it will help to contain the costs of motor insurance for the honest motorist, and allow the insurance industry to handle claims with even greater efficiency."

More fines

Failure to buy motor insurance cover can be costly.

Uninsured drivers face up to 4,000 fine with a compulsory six to eight penalty points on the licence if they are caught.

Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth welcomed the launch of the database.

"The new database is good news for the victims of accidents because it will help to reduce the number of motorists who drive without insurance cover," he said.

"It is also good news for law-abiding motorists who will be relieved for the burden of subsidising the dishonest motorist."

See also:

03 Sep 01 | Business
NHS drives up cost of car insurance
25 May 01 | Business
What drives car insurance higher?
06 Nov 00 | Business
Stopping the car insurance cheats
25 May 01 | Business
Q&A: The cost of car insurance
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