1 in 5 young drivers uninsured
Almost a quarter of a million young motorists are driving illegally because they do not have any insurance cover, according to a report released today by BBC’s Newsbeat.
They found that more than 20% of 17 to 20 year olds are not covered by a valid car insurance policy, which amounts to a staggering 243,000 illegal young drivers on our roads.
Many illegal drivers cite the huge cost of an insurance policy as being the reason for not having cover. Yet the risks of not having a policy are huge, not just for themselves, but also for anybody they may be unfortunate enough to crash into.
The BBC reports the story of 21 year old Gary Street, who was hit by an uninsured driver at 30mph in Manchester two years ago.
“I was travelling through Manchester City Centre on my way to work when a car hit me from behind as I was stationary,” he said.
“I was sent off into the other side of the road, the airbags went off, the seat belts imploded. The car was in quite a state to be honest.”
Gary was left with neck and back injuries, and was in quite a lot of pain and out of action for over a month as a result of the crash.
But as the other driver had no insurance, Gary was left to foot the bill. He said: “I had no other option but to claim on my own insurance which came to a cost of £900 excess.
“I lost my no claims bonus and obviously it’s costing me more now to insure my car.”
Whilst out on patrol, Police use ANPR technology (automatic number plate recognition) to scan hundreds of car registrations every few minutes. The system is able to instantly check if a vehicle has a current valid MoT certificate, tax disc and whether the driver has insurance.
The BBC interviewed Chief Inspector Richard Joyce from Surrey Police, who recently carried out a joint operation with police officers from Kent and Sussex on the M25.
He said: “We have the power to stop, question, and in some cases, arrest drivers without insurance. The consequences for them can be anything from a fine, to points on their licence to having their car scrapped.”
New drivers should be aware that, for the first two years of passing their driving test they are subject to a probationary period, during which they will automatically lose their full driving licence if they accumulate 6 points or more. Their licence is revoked and they must apply for a provisional licence and pass both the theory and practical tests again before obtaining another full driving licence. And the number of penalty points given for driving without insurance? 6 points – therefore instant disqualification.
22 year old Sam, from Kent, was caught driving without insurance when he was 18. He said, “I was driving without insurance because basically I couldn’t afford it, the cost was too high.
“I knew I should have had it but I also knew I was a good driver and I was safe.”
Sadly, this is the view of many young drivers – they suffer from the “it’ll never happen to me” syndrome. The Chief Executive of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), Ashton West says that the high cost of covering young drivers is not just about what car they drive. In fact, it is usually down to the risk the driver poses on the roads.
“Young drivers statistically are a bad risk. They are many times more likely to have an accident.”
With so many young drivers on the roads illegally without cover, insurance companies, the police and motorists all say something needs to be done to tackle the problem.
Gary thinks he has the answer: “If insurance wasn’t so expensive for young drivers, it would encourage people to actually have the insurance.
“Then if you didn’t have the insurance I think the consequences of the law should be a lot tougher.”
Source: BBC Newsbeat