Uninsured drivers escaping with small fines

Insurance clamdown
14 Apr, 2014 11:30am Joe Finnerty

Motorists caught driving without car insurance being fined less than half the average cost for insuring a car.

Fines issued to half a million UK motorists caught driving without insurance since 2010 are, on average, just a fraction of the maximum penalty available, according to figures from Churchill Car Insurance.

South Yorkshire courts treat uninsured drivers the ‘best’, with an average fine of just £260. Compare that to Warwickshire courts which hand out the harshest penalties with an average fine of £385, but that’s still nowhere near the maximum available penalty of £5,000. The average fine across the UK is £322, highlighting a national inconsistency in the penalties for uninsured drivers.

Ministry of Justice statistics show penalties have increased since 2010, but they are still typically only half the £600 cost of an average annual car insurance premium.

Of the 473,564 motorists handed points for driving without insurance since 2010, more than 5,000 have received two or more endorsements for the offence. Untraced and uninsured drivers cause 130 deaths and 26,000 injuries every year on UK roads.

Black box car insurance to become the norm

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill, said: “There are shocking numbers of irresponsible motorists taking to the roads without mandatory cover. Higher fines would undoubtedly help discourage these offenders.”

“Courts can issue £5,000 fines to uninsured drivers. But the police’s fixed penalty notice is just £300 – half the average annual insurance premium. 

Highest average fines for uninsured drivers by region 
Warwickshire £385
Cheshire £362
London £354
Northamptonshire £350
Lancashire £345
Lowest average fines for uninsured drivers by region
South Yorkshire £260
Durham £263
Humberside £272
Northumbria £274
Devon and Cornwall £275

Auto Express opinion: uninsured drivers

Auto Express has spent a lot of time with the Metropolitan Police recently, learning how it targets uninsured drivers. 

Officers did admit, though, that they come across motorists  who are caught reoffending mere hours after retrieving seized cars from the pound. What more conclusive proof could there be that the current penalties for driving uninsured are simply inadequate?

What adds to the frustration is the realisation that this is a problem that’s easy to solve. The current levels of fine simply aren’t a deterrent, and until they’re hiked up significantly, that’ll continue to be the case.

How can we tackle the problem of uninsured drivers in the UK? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below...

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If it's cheaper to get fined than to get proper insurance then it'll carry on as it is. Driving uninsured should carry an automatic fine of £2000, seizure of the car and if they can't pay, the car should be scrapped.

What is the surprise? The UK's justice system is a joke, has been for a long while - you only have to look at concurrent sentencing, that says it all about our legal system. The country is slowly but surely going down the toilet. It started with liberalism and will end in street confrontations (riots). Hopefully I will be back to stardust by then.

Scrap their cars and pay a fine - the message will get through to them eventually!

This is a case of soft sentencing for the social under class, and often the same soft treatment for any other crime they commit.

It's simple,no insurance no rego and tax etc.Show proof of payment to rego authorities before they give the new rego.

In my opinion the courts should assume that uninsured drivers have been driving uninsured since they last had valid insurance. So for example if someone is caught driving uninsured and the last time they had valid insurance was 4 years ago then it should be assumed that they've been driving uninsured for 4 years.
Their fine should then be calculated as a MINIMUM of double what their average insurance costs would have been for the 4 years.

I was knocked of my motorbike by an uninsured driver in his very early 20s as he emerged from a side road. He was charged with driving without insurance and driving with undue care. He made at least 3 appearance in court. He was fined £150, had to pay £150 in "court costs" and got 6 points. At the time guidelines for the charges if treated separately was a minimum of 9 points.

Meanwhile, I spent 2 weeks in hospital, 6 months out of work and had to claim through the motor insurance bureau who were a nightmare to deal with.

I wrote letters of complaint to the CPS, my local MP, the minister for justice and got generic brush off replies from all of them as to the leniency of the court judgement.

Based on what I knew about the defendant a search online suggested his cheapest quote based on his convictions was more than £2000. Where is his incentive to insure his car?

I think fines should start at the post conviction premium level and go up for repeat offenders. Compulsory insurance premiums for 3 years if convicted should be imposed. This could be managed like student loans such that the monthly premium is deducted at scource of income. If u can't afford to run and insure/tax a car you should not have one.

This is disastrous the justice system used to be the best in the world, it still is but is an absolute joke and is not good enough in certain areas. Idiots driving without insurance cause our premiums to go up, us honest reliable people that buy very expensive insurance each year should not suffer because of idiots that do not buy insurance. The fines should be very high for uninsured drivers and the premiums for us good drivers that buy insurance should be lower, the insurance industry is mad they charge too much, the cost of car insurance has rocketed up since 2010, the prices need to come down. Upto 2010 the cost of car insurance was £300 and in 2012 it was £900 for the same driver and the same car. The prices are going up due to the companies reclaiming there losses that occur because of uninsured drivers. They need to reclaim them through the uninsured not the insured.

That is not justice,it is at least fairer then the justice system in America and varies other countries.

There are hundreds of thousands of uninsured road users on the road, not only that, they are able to get changes made to the roads, vehicles, traffic lights, etc all without having to take any tests of competence, wear safety equipment or make any financial contributions to the roads they are using..they are commonly known as cyclists.

For at least 40 years the DVLA have required proof of insurance before they re-licence the vehicle. Furthermore , the authorities seize about 150,000 uninsured vehicles a year. The problem is that these idiots either drive someone else's car or they drive old bangers so seizure is meaningless - they just go out and get another one. No, massive fines are the answer.

They should be banned completely from the road. Fined the total cost of the Emergency services time and have the vehicles crushed as well as been thrown in Jail. Need I say more

Absolutely, Absolutely.

There should be massive fines, benefits cuts, and prison for repeat offenders. I am sick of subsidising the underclass, and then having the potential of being hammered by the courts just because I have a steady, low paid, job and work every minute god sends. My neighbour drives an old car he borrows from a 'mate', he has never taken a test, is uninsured - obviously - doesn't work, and his equally unemployed girlfriend is soon to have a baby. He lives well on benefits, and I grow tired and old working to pay for it all.
Justice in Britain, forget it. Work hard and get fleeced, laze about behaving irresponsibly and selfishly, and creating mayhem for decent people, and get sympathy from the liberal elite. Who of course also live very well on the backs of the working poor, who they maintain in order to keep themselves in sinecures.

There are 2 sorts of uninsured drivers. Those who forget to reinsure for a few days, and those who are deliberately uninsured. The two types are different. For the latter type, I guess that large fines are not really relevant since they'll ignore them. Another form of punishment is necessary. Prison just costs us money, so there needs to be a cheap punishment that really affects them. Stocks in the marketplace with a supply of rotten tomatoes perhaps? Or kneecapping? Or let's get 3rd party insurance funded by other means and get rid of this problem once and for all.

Confiscate their cars AND fine them £1000 for 1st offence then prison for subsequent offences plus £5000 fine.

This is only the fine element, they will also get 6 points, fines are based on the ability to pay, band c in this case, the range would be from £110 to a max of £800,there will also be a victim surcharge and court costs to pay, they still need to get car insurance before they can drive a vehicle.

How can they drive the old bangers,are they unregistered,if so then throw them in jail,but if they're registered, how so if no insurance?

I can't claim to be an expert but as I understand it they nick plates off a registered vehicle of the same age and colour, so it's quite hard for the police or a traffic warden to check.

I see,then my previous comment definitely applies,throw them in jail,take their licence(if they have one!),and ban them from getting one for 5 years.

Unfortunately, certain people will always try to get away with insuring their vehicles, but just as criminal is certain insurance companys trying to rip customers off with over-inflated premiums or not paying out due to the slightest of discrepancies on policies. Do these companies get fined? Thought as much...

The idea of the fine being as low as it is - is to try to encourage offenders to go out and buy the insurance, and recover their car.

Nobody would be able to do that on the average UK salary in the condition our financial climate is in, within the two weeks you're given to recover your car. It would be just too expensive - when typically - I'll bet you the majority of people caught without insurance, are genuinely not able to buy insurance because they can't afford it - but DO need a car to get to and from work, to pay the bills they're struggling with.

You need to look at this without assuming everyone is capable of shelling out a ton of cash - and look at the potential reasons why people don't have insurance in the first place.

You can't just hike up the fines - because it will cripple people. People could lose their jobs because of the inability to afford even catching a bus afterwards, due to such a hefty fine - which would in turn - mean they can't get to work, which would in turn, mean they lose their job, which would in turn - take them to benefits and we'd have one less tax payer bailing the country out of the financial sh**-storm it's currently in.

Fines should be greater, I agree - but do it for re-offenders - and it HAS to be planned properly. Fines get more expensive also, the further south you get - the same way a can of coke does, that needs to stay. You can't nationalise something like a flat-rate fine for anyone in the country no matter of the locale. I'm a Web Developer, and I earn less - doing the same thing - as someone else in London. You see my point. They have to be tailored to each region.