New rules to stop uninsured drivers

  • New continuous insurance enforcement
  • Scheme scheduled to start in April 2011
  • Uninsured cars must be declared off-road

A new law is being introduced to ensure that all cars are either insured or declared off-the road.

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme, which will be introduced in April, is designed to cut the number of uninsured drivers.

The Department for Transport estimate that the scheme will reduce the number of uninsured drivers on British roads by around 40%. It is hoped that this will also help keep down the rising cost of insurance.

It applies to uninsured vehicles that are not declared as being off the road through a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). When a car isn't used on the road, or in public places, there's no requirement for it to be insured under the new scheme - but it must be declared SORN.

It's being introduced by the Department for Transport and will use information held by the DVLA and the Motor Insurer's Bureau to identify uninsured cars. Current estimates state that 1.5 million drivers don't have any insurance, costing the UK about £500 million a year in claims and adding an extra £30 to every insurance policy.

The scheme will work by comparing records held by the DVLA against the Motor Insurance Database. If it appears that a car has no insurance or a SORN notification then the DVLA will issue a letter to the registered keeper to notify them of the issue.

People who ignore the notification will consequently receive a £100 penalty, while those who continue to drive without insurance will receive another penalty and have their vehicle's details uploaded to a list of wheel clampers. Eventually a court summons will be issued, with a maximum fine of £1,000.

Continuing offenders will have their vehicle seized and destroyed.

Vehicles that were last taxed before 31 January 1998, and have been off the road since, are exempt from SORN and will not be affected by the new scheme, as the DVLA's system will automatically exclude them.

Parker's Top Tip

You can check to see whether your vehicle details are recorded on the Motor Insurance Database by entering your registration number on the Ask MID website. If your details don't appear then contact your insurer so they can update your records - it could save you from being stopped by the police.