Police seized the millionth uninsured vehicle last month, which may be seen as the police cracking down on the issue. But many still argue that the fines are too lenient, leading to people, in this difficult economic climate, taking the risk as the fine may be less than the insurance cost in the first place.
Of the 34 million drivers on our UK roads, an estimated 1.2 million are uninsured. Unfortunately, research shows that without insurance, people are more likely to be involved in a car accident. This leads to many people asking, “what happens if you are hit by an uninsured driver?” Furthermore, what happens if you suffer an injury from this accident and what impact will this have on personal injury claims?
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau provides compensation to innocent victims in collisions with uninsured drivers and those who fail to stop. The statistics about uninsured drivers are frightening. Work carried out by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau shows that uninsured drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 innocent people a year. This work adds up to £33 being added, on average, to every car insurance policy across the UK. This can have a particularly harsh effect on young drivers who may have to pay up to £3,000 for their first car insurance policy whereby the average fine for driving without insurance may be as little as £300.
It is apparent by these figures that the government needs to impose a harsher penalty on uninsured drivers to reflect what they should have paid had they been honest.
There is an effect on personal injury claims as a result of uninsured drivers. People who are injured in accidents by uninsured motorists cannot claim compensation for their pain, suffering and consequential losses in the usual way as there is no insurer to step in to pay. A successful claim has to be made with the Motor Insurer’s Bureau through an agreement the government made in 1999 (Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999). The MIB manages a fund of money comprised of contributions from all UK motor insurers that act as a safety net for victims of uninsured drivers. With the help of a solicitor, the injured can make an application to the MIB for compensation.
Despite all the statistics surrounding uninsured drivers, luckily the MIB may be able to help those who suffer from injury as a result of an accident with an uninsured driver. However, this doesn’t mean that we should stop on our quest to ensure all drivers on our roads have insurance. Action is needed not only from the government but from society itself, so if you’re uninsured, do the right thing and ensure your fellow drivers have an immediate mean of redress should something go wrong.
By Jemma Gaskell