Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has proposed a series of measures to impose tougher sentences on those found to be driving without insurance.
He recommends a tax-disc style window sticker to prove that a vehicle is insured, automatic driving bans of one year for a first offence and five years subsequently, and fines of at least two years’ average insurance premiums.
“We cannot have these people laughing at those who act responsibly and within the laws of this land any more,” he says.
The proposals earned him the title of ‘parliamentarian of the month’ from road safety charity Brake. However, it is in our view fanciful to suggest that the law will be changed significantly any time soon.
The difficulty with the proposal regarding tax discs is that this would simply establish that the vehicle itself has had an insurance policy taken out on it rather than proving that the driver is insured.
Our experience is that people who commit this offence are often guilty of making a simple mistake such as failing to send documentation in to their insurers such as driving licences or evidence of no claims bonuses. Others may not have received notice of the cancellation of their policy or may have misunderstood the effect of their policy. Most of our clients who have been accused of driving without insurance were driving in the mistaken belief that they were insured only to discover that they were not. To punish those people with minimum 12 month disqualifications (a similar penalty as is imposed for a drink driving offence) would be unjust and draconian.
The penalty for driving without insurance is 6-8 penalty points and a fine of up to £5,000 (the guidelines suggest 150% of a person’s net weekly income). There is a statutory defence to no insurance if the driver was driving in the course of his or her employment and had no reason to believe they were no insured. Special reasons can also be argued to try to reduce the penalty from the normal minimum 6 points if the person has a genuine and reasonably held belief that they were insured based on reasonable enquiries .
Depending on your circumstances – and how severely you and your dependants would be affected by a lengthy driving ban – we can help to identify the arguments that can lead to you keeping your licence.