John Jackson makes a number of strong points in his article on uninsured driving (Comment, 6 July). Another feature in these cases, in my experience, is that the driver is rarely charged with the insurance offence in isolation.

Usually, he has been stopped for another reason, and the total fine is attributed to the more serious offence.

I would, however, take issue on the subject of windscreen insurance discs.

It surprises me that John has not referred to the numerous occasions in the past when the subject has been raised. Nor has he mentioned that, had the proposal any merit, this would have come out at the time of the Greenaway Report.

Here are just a few reasons why, in my opinion, it is the motor insurance database (MID) and not windscreen discs that is the answer to the uninsured driver problem:

  • In the UK it is the driver, not the vehicle, who is insured. Windscreen discs would not operate in motor trade or driving other cars situations. Nor would a windscreen disc on a parked vehicle indicate that the driver had insurance (Hopefully, this is soon to be addressed by other means).
  • Do drivers want to publicise their insurance particulars in the detail required by a windscreen disc? Organised gangs will target insurers whom they know are "soft" on investigations.
  • A tax disc represents vehicle excise duty that has been paid in full. Most insurance premiums are paid monthly. What happens when the driver defaults on his insurance payments?
  • Windscreen discs will be printed on paper and will be vulnerable in the same way as certificates are - to copying, forgery alteration and theft.
  • Security printing may discourage forgery, but it is expensive. Currently, broker-orientated insurers delegate printing and issue of documents to intermediaries, which would further compromise security.
  • Each insurer would presumably wish to personalise their own windscreen discs. This would mean more kit in broker's offices and more versions of the same document.
  • Some brokers issue their own documentation irrespective of the insurer selected. This would lead to even more styles of windscreen discs - who is going to spot a real windscreen disc compared to a forgery?
  • It has not yet been conclusively proven that the introduction of windscreen discs does reduce uninsured driving - look at Ireland.
  • If anything, uninsured driving has increased there since the introduction of windscreen discs.

  • Why introduce a windscreen disc when we already have a number plate that serves the same purpose?
  • The MID is not perfect, and it does create problems in terms of updates and targets, but it has many advantages over windscreen discs. It is the best solution at present and it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

    Roy Rodger
    Insurance Training & Consultancy