Transport minister Stephen Ladyman has called for tougher prison sentences for people driving without insurance.

This comes just months after the government rejected ABI proposals to introduce a series of measures which would force younger drivers to take greater safety precautions on the road.

As the Road Safety Bill received Royal Assent this week it became law for uninsured drivers who kill while driving to be jailed for up to two years.

But, said Ladyman, the courts must ensure that they use sentencing guidelines to adequately punish motorists who drive without cover.

He said: "Sentences, of course, are not a matter for government. We pass the law that says what sentences the court can give but then it's up to the courts to punish people appropriately.

"If the fine is less than the cost of insurance, then why would you buy insurance?"

The Act will also make it an offence for drivers to keep uninsured vehicles without first notifying the Motor Insurance Database (News, 29 June).