All vehicles, even if not on the road, will have to be insured

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) is to recruit more staff in preparation for the government’s crackdown on uninsured drivers.

Under new measures proposed last Wednesday, it will be an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, even if it is not being driven. Owners who ignore warnings face a £100 fine or the loss of their vehicle.

The MIB, which logs all insured drivers in the UK, will play a key part in the plans by working with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to weed out uninsured owners.

Chief executive Ashton West said the MIB would be adding to its staff of 300, but did not give an exact figure.

The government response has coincided with a campaign by the MIB to raise awareness about the dangers of driving without insurance. The MIB and the government share concerns that the economic downturn may spark a surge in uninsured drivers.

West said: “It is no surprise that people are looking to cut back on spending wherever possible. However, this is no excuse to commit a criminal offence.

“The number of uninsured drivers on the roads still remains unacceptably high. In turn, this has an economic and social impact on all drivers and road users.”

Estimates for 2010 reveal that insurers will have to contribute £397m to the MIB. The figure has been falling from £417m in 2008 and then £407m in 2009.

West said the drop in contributions was “a result of police work taking vehicles off the road. That is leading to fewer claims and to a lower cost.”