The motor insurance industry has seen improved results, but Ashton West says more can be done to stamp out uninsured driving

' 2007 is an important year for the motor insurance industry. The new targets for updating the Motor Insurance Database (MID) will be coming into force on 31 January 2008 and work to meet this will require

co-ordinated effort from the whole industry.

There is no question that significant strides have been made in enforcement by the authorities, to improve compliance and much has been done to raise awareness of the dangers by all. But there is no time to rest on our laurels. To stamp out the scourge of uninsured driving will require continued co-ordinated effort by all parties.

Greater information sharing between the police and the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), coupled with the increasing use of automatic number plate recognition cameras led to over 50,000 seizures in 2006 by the police.

Taking into account government legislation, which allowed this to happen, this is a perfect example of how improved working across all agencies can achieve meaningful results.

The approval by the ABI to alter the wording of 'driving other cars' policy extensions to exclude the use of these to recover seized and impounded vehicles is another step in the right direction.

The industry acted promptly to address police concerns and I hope all our members adopt this new wording, which will significantly reduce attempts to cut across police efforts to permanently remove uninsured vehicles from the road.

At the MIB, we are working to improve compliance by commercial policyholders where it is their responsibility to update the MID.

While we are now seeing an improvement in MID compliance, it would be naïve to think there wasn't still more to be done.

One initiative we will be focusing on this year is encouraging commercial drivers to ensure their fleet managers or insurers are keeping their records up-to-date.

As police activity continues to ramp up, drivers who are not on the MID face a much greater chance of being stopped and having their vehicles seized.

In addition to a widespread campaign aimed at commercial drivers, we want to offer an opportunity for commercial drivers to check that MID records are correct.

We are looking at designing a dedicated website, which we hope to launch later this year. Over time, we could then roll this provision out to all motorists.

It is vital we retain police confidence in the integrity of the database and this will be part of the process.

As the new laws contained within the Road Safety Act come into force, we must promote rigour in the data collection process as well as provide the public with greater access to information. We know that, in the future, any registered keeper of a vehicle not on the MID will face an automatic fine with stiffer penalties if he or she fails to pay.

We recognise the need to work with all insurers and to hit the targets for updating the MID requires working together. Successfully hitting targets on data collection compliance provides the right foundation to turn the tide against uninsured driving. IT

' Ashton West is group chief executive of the Motor Insurers' Bureau