September 18, 2009

Direct Line has been in the news taking a high-profile stand against meaningless fines for uninsured young drivers.

What is the bloomin’ point – the comparison-averse insurer asks – of fining some kid £50 for driving uninsured when it’s saving them two or three grand a year?

Uninsured drivers cost other road users something like thirty quid a year on their premiums. But the latest Government rethink could see fines fall from the current average £185 to as little as £50 (if paid within 30 days).

How can this make sense compared with £1000 for not having a TV licence or dodging your bus fare Direct Line wants to know? Getting nabbed with spray-can in hand can get you fined £5k – but how many people lose their lives to graffiti? Probably fewer than the 160 killed each year by uninsured drivers.

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, says, “The severity of penalties must act as a deterrent to those considering driving without insurance. Of the 1.5 million uninsured drivers on our roads, only 260,000 are convicted each year. If the fines are less than the average insurance premium then it’s not going to stop them re-offending.”

All very convincing. So why has no one stood up and made a fuss about all this before? Could it possibly be for fear of spelling out to younger drivers that they’re better off without insurance?


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