Quin Lovis, active underwriter at Highway, the UK's seventh biggest motor insurer, is calling for tougher penalties for motorists caught driving without insurance.

His suggestions include custodial sentences, a significant increase in the size of fines and the confiscation of vehicles.

Lovis says uninsured motorists cost the insurance industry around £400m a year in claims.

He points out that only about 10% of those caught are prosecuted and that the average fine is £200, usually far less than the premium they would have paid.

“Obviously we welcome the fact that the insurance industry is to set up a new database that will enable the police to immediately identify uninsured motorists during roadside checks and then to prosecute,” Lovis said.

“However, this is only half the battle. Much larger fines should be issued, with custodial sentences or confiscation of vehicles for repeat offenders. It is not good enough to just be better at identifying the culprits, we also need real deterrents.”