Driving someone else's car for a day or perhaps even a few hours? Worried about being caught driving without insurance? You should be, because as motorists we now live in a highly sophisticated surveillance society. As we drive down the roads there are not only cameras photographing us every few miles but they are also constantly recording our numberplate details and comparing them against databases to check on whether or not the vehicle is insured or the subject of other investigations. As a result of all this, according to the latest published statistics, around 12.7 million motoring offences are dealt with by police authorities each year. Roadside cameras are responsible for around 89% of all convictions for speeding.
Driving without insurance is viewed by most magistrates as one of the most serious offences a motorist can commit and conviction carries, typically, around six or eight penalty points on the offenders licence as well as substantial fines. Once the total reaches 12 points the unhappy driver is considered for disqualification; this is not of course automatic partly because of the huge increase in the numbers of motorists who have accumulated penalty points as a result of increased surveillance and it is arguable that if every driver who exceeded the speed limit three or four times every three years was disqualified the country would grind to a halt. In fact a small majority of drivers who go over the 12 point limit and who plead that a disqualification would cause real hardship do in fact escape this, at least the first time. This underlines the wisdom of seeking qualified and experienced legal advice for those who find themselves in this situation.
Disqualification however is not the only sanction to be feared. Any motorists who are stopped by the police for any reason and who cannot show that they are insured to drive the vehicle are likely to see it towed away to a pound, leaving them to make their own way home. This happens to around 500 vehicles every single week and a very high proportion of these end up being crushed or otherwise disposed of with no recompense whatsoever to the owner.
Along with SORN regulations and the adaptation of the Motor Insurance Database, which carries details of every car insurance policy in the UK and which is accessed thousands of times a day by police authorities, the increasing number of ways in which uninsured motorists can be caught is leading to more and more convictions which are causing, in many cases, terrible distress to normally honest and respectable citizens who just, for once, thought that they would take a chance.
For many of these motorists a one day car insurance policy could have made the difference between keeping their driving licences and the awful consequences of a ban for at least six months.