While anyone getting behind the wheel is required to have insurance, the reality is there will always be those who choose to be on the wrong side of the law. The silver lining? Offenders, according to data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), aren’t as many as they used to be.
Releasing the numbers from a freedom of information request to the DVLA, RAC Insurance said there were 79,713 motorists who were caught by a police officer using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks last year. In 2017, the figure stood at a whopping 118,698.
RAC Insurance also shared details from previous years, noting that 2012 saw 108,616 offences; 2013 – 108,486; 2014 – 102,417; 2015 – 92,804; and 2016 – 113,502.
“It can only be good news the number of people driving without insurance has dropped significantly in the last year and is now at its lowest in at least seven years,” commented RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey. “This should help to keep premiums down for every driver and we hope this continues in the years ahead.
“From 2012 to 2015 there was a steady downward trend in the number of ‘driving without insurance’ offences, but there was then an increase in 2016 followed by a six-year high in 2017 which appears to be directly linked to the increase in the price of insurance at that time.”
Godfrey pointed to 2011’s Continuous Insurance Enforcement as the probable cause of the previous decline while the rise in premiums was cited as the culprit for the shift.
He recalled: “In November 2015 the government raised Insurance Premium Tax from 6% to 9.5% and followed this with two more increases, taking it to 12%. This, along with other factors, added £100 to the average cost of insurance by the end of 2017 which unfortunately could explain why more people drove uninsured.”
The sharp fall in 2018, however, was something Godfrey described as “harder to explain.” Meanwhile he also stressed the importance of having coverage.
“Even though the figures show an improvement in compliance the law demands that every driver has insurance,” stated Godfrey. “This is to protect everyone who uses the road: drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Those who drive without insurance are not only breaking the law, they are also selfishly putting others, as well as themselves, at financial and legal risk.
“While no-one should ever lose out financially after being involved in a collision with an uninsured driver due to the Motor Insurers Bureau acting as the ‘insurer of last resort’, every incident they are involved with adds to the average cost of insurance for law-abiding drivers.”