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One out of every 13 vehicles is not insured

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Thousands of drivers are risking taking to the roads without insurance.

One in every 13 vehicles on the roads is now operating without cover.

And there are concerns that the Covid-19 outbreak and the reduction in incomes will lead to more drivers risking driving without insurance.

Last year, there were almost 14,000 more uninsured private vehicles operating on Irish roads than the previous year, according to new figures released by the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

At the end of 2019, there were a total of 164,773 uninsured private vehicles on Irish roads.

The average costs involved in an accident involving an uninsured vehicle exceed €50,000.

The MIBI is a not-for-profit organisation funded by insurers that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.

Uninsured vehicles account for 7.58pc of the almost 2.2 million private vehicle fleet in use in the State.

This means that one in every 13 private vehicles on Irish roads is uninsured.

All vehicles operating on Irish roads are required by law to hold valid motor insurance, the MIBI said.

Any vehicle found without valid insurance can be seized on the spot by gardaí with the driver facing severe penalties, including an automatic court appearance, five penalty points and a substantial fine.

MIBI chief executive David Fitzgerald said: "We are certainly concerned that with the economy facing a difficult period, there may be an even further increase in the level of uninsured driving."

He added that if uninsured drivers are involved in accidents, then his organisation will pursue the driver for costs.

He said the average costs involved in such an accident exceed €50,000.

Mr Fitzgerald said there was an urgent need to make greater use of an insurance database of those who have cover.

It involves an automatic number plate recognition system, which allows gardaí to identify uninsured vehicles by scanning vehicle licence plates.

Irish Independent