UK motoring law requires having at least the most basic - third party insurance to use the vehicle and drive the local highways. However, ‘using the vehicle’ has a broader context: by ‘using’ even parking and leaving it unattended is included. Even if your engine doesn’t start and you are steering tow-roped to the nearest body shop, you are still using the vehicle from a legal point of reference. You may even have your vehicle insured, but if you are not insured yourself, a penalty may follow. Importantly, the case where you grant a permission to an uninsured person to use a vehicle is considered to be a violation implying the identical penalties as if it were you driving the car.
The ways you may get penalised differ: from fines and penalty points (when you get 12, a temporary ban is issued) to driving bans or license cancellation. Moreover, you risk to have your car confiscated and recycled. Driving without a license and getting caught may result into headaches when it comes to acquiring insurance in future. The legislation is tough, and uninsured driving is classified as absolute offence, meaning there are no excuses or reasons that can justify your actions. Moreover, even if you are actually insured, but don’t have the certificate... guess what? Yes, you are violating the rules. In this case you will have 7 days to confirm your insurance status - paying a visit to a local police department to confirm your certificate would be essential.
So here’s the breakdown of the possible consequences. A fixed penalty is, perhaps, the most desirable outcome - you will have to part with 300 pounds and get 6 penalty points added to your score. You may also be charged a fine, the amount of which largely depends on the case circumstances. Finally, things may end with legal proceedings in court, where 6-8 penalty points are issued and a fine capped at £5k adjudicated. The case is good enough when you can prove you had the insurance at the time of alleged offence - this is where you have to send over the certificate before the hearing. However, if the license was not there, you risk to have your driving license ceased for up to one year.
But does the perspective of penalty points, huge fines and even legal proceedings stops people from playing unfair? Well, the pundits of law say no legal mechanism is perfect. Nevertheless, the scope of the problem, the drivers using their vehicles with no insurance, seems to be way bigger than it could be.
In accordance with the report provided by Churchill Car Insurance nearly 500,000 of motorists were points-penalised for using their vehicles with no insurance from 2010 to 2013. During the year of 2014, almost 6,000 motorists were imposed 2 penalties for driving without insurance, which means they’ve reached the limit of 12 points. 52,234 drivers, apart from uninsured penalties had other offences registered to their names.
According to the Automobile Association, uninsured driving results into an additional £380ml. load on the industry annually, while each uninsured vehicle adds approximately 35 pounds to the price of insurance certificate. The downhill dynamics is criticised for the insufficient sanctions issued by courts, arguing that a cap of £2,000 for high risk cases is definitely not enough.
With the exclusion of fixed fines charged by the police, the average fine amount for driving without insurance in 2013 was as low as £342, while the maximum charge has not shifted from the £5,000 mark, despite the growing number of lack of insurance cases (13% growth registered from 2010 to 2012).
Another aspect revealed by the report is the absence of national consistency as for the fines price formation: thus, e.g. there’s a huge, almost 50% pitfall between the average of £385 charged by Warwickshire and £260 by South Yorkshire. Another lion in the path on the road to the decrease in uninsured driving is the too small penalty of £300 - according to polls gathered by Churchill Car, the law-abiding drivers would welcome an increase up to £900. The tendency of changes leaves much to be