151,000 uninsured drivers on roads as cost soars
The number of uninsured private vehicles on the road has increased by more than 66,000 over five years, new statistics show.
Last year there were 151,392 private cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes on the road without cover, according to the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). It represented 7.4pc of the total 2,039,040 private vehicles on the road.
This compared with just 4.5pc in 2011, when the total number of uninsured private vehicles on the road was 85,062 - out of 1,887,810 total private vehicles at the time.
The increase comes as the price of insurance premiums for private vehicles has soared.
In the past two years alone, the cost of insurance has shot up with some drivers seeing the cost of their cover jump by 200pc.
Private insurance companies have been accused of imposing unjustifiable hikes on motorists to rectify their own business mistakes.
Last month, the Oireachtas Finance Committee completed a report making 71 recommendations regarding insurance prices. This included giving drivers a detailed breakdown of the cost of their insurance.
Chairman of the committee, John McGuinness, said the hikes in motor cover were not justified, were having a negative impact on society and were not sustainable.
However, motorists have been warned the penalty for driving without insurance can include having their vehicles seized on the spot, an automatic court appearance, five penalty points and a significant fine.
David Fitzgerald, chief executive of the MIBI, said motorists needed to understand just how significant a risk they were facing if they drove without insurance and pointed out the consequences.
"If they were involved in an accident the situation they face is even more severe. The MIBI will rigorously pursue them personally for costs under our right to recovery," he said.
Mr Fitzgerald said the rise in the number of uninsured private vehicles was a significant cause of concern.
"Uninsured vehicles operating on Irish roads represent a real threat to road safety.
"Every driver knows the law requires all vehicles using our public road network must have proper motor insurance in place.
"Drivers who do not are in immediate violation of one of the most basic road safety principles," he said.