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Fed up UK motorists call for harsher penalties for uninsured drivers

23rd November 2010

  • Motorists call for fines of £900 for uninsured drivers
  • More than a quarter of drivers want a ‘life ban’ for those driving with no insurance
  • Over three quarters of drivers would like an uninsured drivers hotline

Research* from Direct Line has revealed that fed up UK motorists want to see fines of around £900 for those caught driving uninsured. This is over four times more than the current fine of £200** and 18 times more than the new proposed fine of £50.

Fines aren’t the only thing motorists want to see increased, 34 per cent want those caught driving uninsured to have to take their driving test again and 28 per cent want a life ban for those caught.

Not only do motorists want larger fines and harsher sentences, 77 per cent of them would like an uninsured drivers’ hotline or website, where they could ‘shop’ someone they know is driving uninsured.

Andy Goldby Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, said: "Direct Line fully supports what the UK’s fed up motorists want. Those responsible drivers who insure their cars have had enough of the additional £30 on their premiums that these uninsured drivers cost them. They want harsher penalties, larger fines and a hotline to give information on those driving uninsured, though most of all, they want decisive action."

"Uninsured drivers put a huge cost on society and the UK motorist has had enough. A £900 fine is more than the average car insurance premium and would act as a real deterrent to those who wish to drive uninsured."

Direct Line is calling for a policy rethink after proposed new fine levels for uninsured drivers could be as little as £50.

Whilst initially a fine of £100 will be issued, if paid promptly it reduces to £50 and is unlikely to deter the persistent uninsured driver. The new proposed fines stand in stark contrast to the maximum penalties for a range of lesser perceived misdemeanours such as;

  • Failure to pay your TV licence fee: £1,000
  • Smoking in a smoke-free place: £200
  • Conviction for graffiti: £5,000
  • Fare evasion on London buses: £1,000
  • Overfilling your bin: £110

Direct Line was the first, and still is one of the few insurers to offer as standard, a nil excess and maintain its customer’s No Claims Discount if they are hit by an uninsured driver. With uninsured drivers already adding around £30 to everyone’s insurance premium, drivers shouldn’t have to pay even more if they are hit by an uninsured driver.

Facts about uninsured drivers***

  • 23,000 people are injured and 160 are killed every year by uninsured drivers
  • In 2009, 164,000 people were convicted for driving without insurance - that is one conviction every three minutes
  • The cost of uninsured motoring in the UK is estimated to be around £500 million. The MIB charges a levy on all motor insurance companies to help fund the cost of uninsured driving in the UK. That amounts to £30 for each law abiding driver in their annual motor premium.
  • Police report that 180,000 vehicles were seized in 2009, taking the total to more than 600,000 since laws were introduced in 2005
  • In 2009 194,000 people were convicted in Court for uninsured driving – that is one conviction every three minutes.

For more information on the features of Direct Line’s car insurance, visit www.directline.co.uk or call 0845 246 3761.

Press Contact:

Simon Henrick
Direct Line
Direct: 0208 313 5965
Mobile: 07833166717
Email: Simon.Henrick@rbs.co.uk

Notes to editors:

*Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,013 UK adults aged 18+ from 10th to 12th November 2010. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
 

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com