ABI demands uninsured drivers should suffer 'draconian' measures

The ABI has challenged the government to implement "draconian" penalties on uninsured drivers, such as confiscation of vehicles, community service orders and huge penalties.

The call for tougher measures comes as part of the ABI's submission to Professor David Greenaway, who is currently conducting an inquiry into the problem.

ABI director general Mary Francis said: "Government and courts are not applying effective penalties to people who are caught driving without insurance. We would like to see much tougher, more draconian measures."

Among proposals the ABI will put before Greenaway is a link up between the DVLA and motor insurance database systems to help track the estimated one million insurance cheats.

Francis said: "We want to up the stakes with the government. In the past governments have paid lip service to this problem. Ministers said they would go back to their departments but nothing ever happened. We really want to see action on this."

ABI estimates suggest uninsured driving costs about £500m each year with honest motorists footing the bill by a £30 surcharge on their policies.

Francis said: "This is not a victimless crime. Road accidents can do huge personal damage and that has to be paid for. Honest motorists are paying for the dishonest."

One of the problems highlighted by the ABI is the low cost of the average fine, just £150, compared to the average cost of insurance currently running at £400.

Measures to counteract this include higher fines and making convicted uninsured drivers repay unpaid insurance.

But Francis dismissed the call for a change to the European model of insuring the car rather than the driver or displaying compulsory insurance tax discs as a "red herring".

Francis said: "We have a good system that involves looking at both the car and driver.

"Insurance discs may have a role to play but we believe that they are a bit of red herring and we believe the case for changing to a European system here would need to be overwhelming."