Government sets out long-awaited blueprint following industry lobbying.

The government has set out a blueprint for its plans to crack down on uninsured driving, but is expected to miss the April 2009 deadline for their implementation.

Biba and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) are currently analysing the draft and will be responding shortly to the government. Graeme Trudgill, Biba’s technical and corporate affairs executive, said it was now unlikely that the legislation would be implemented by the deadline.

“That’s going to be a tall order now,” he said. “The government delays have been about finding the allocated funding.”

Following lobbying from industry bodies, the Department for Transport recently released draft legislation to Biba and the MIB outlining laws that would see stiff fines and penalties imposed on the owners of uninsured vehicles even when they are not in use.

The continuous enforcement insurance initiative was established in the Road Safety Act 2006, but it became clear last year that the government had made little progress in establishing the legislation.

Biba has sent letters demanding action from transport minister Ruth Kelly, and chief executive Eric Galbraith used this year’s Biba conference as a platform to renew calls for a financial commitment from the government to reduce uninsured driving.

Galbraith said at the conference: “The government has been dragging its feet on drafting new regulations which are desperately needed to help tackle uninsured driving in the UK. I am calling on [transport minister] Ruth Kelly and her team to do their utmost to set these regulations in motion at the earliest opportunity.”

Continuous enforcement insurance would require several million pounds in funding from the government.

Neil Drane, head of MIB compliance and enforcement services, said: “This has taken longer than expected, but we are confident the government is committed to this.”

The draft outlines how the legislation would be enforced. According to Biba, an estimated two million uninsured drivers cost innocent motorists £417m a year in levies on their motor insurance policies.

Biba is also lobbying for legislation that would allow motor insurance certificates to be delivered electronically. It claims this could save brokers up to £11m a year. The Department for Transport is currently drafting proposals, but progress has been slow.

The new regime

Initial fixed penalty fee of 100 pounds for keeping a vehicle without insurance that hasn’t been statutorily declared off-road.

An increased fine of 1,000 pounds, enforceable at court, for those who do not pay the initial 100 pounds.

Potential seizure of vehicle if previous fines are not paid.

The ABI says the new offence could produce extra insurance revenue of 100m pounds, about 20% of the estimated 500m pounds for uninsured driving.