Tuesday 17 September 2019

Real-time insurance database should be introduced to crack down on uninsured drivers - AGSI conference hears

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

GARDA supervisors want the introduction of a real-time insurance database to help them crack down on uninsured drivers.

They have called for action from Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan in their drive to increase detection rates.

The Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland estimates there are 150,000 uninsured vehicles in the Republic, the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors heard today.

Delegate Roger Nicholson said the detection of persons without motor insurance was a very important task for all gardai and the roads policing unit, in particular.

He said gardai were currently detecting about 12,000 uninsured drivers a year despite significant penalties of fines up to €5,000, five penalty points and, at the discretion of the court, a jail sentence not exceeding six months.

"The number of claims made relating to uninsured or untraced drivers in 2015 was 2,516 and this rose to 2,758 in 2017.

"All vehicles are required to have their disc displayed on the windscreen but this does not state that the driver is insured", Mr Nicholson added.

Gardai had the power to seize vehicles under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 for driving without insurance and other offences.

But they were still required to give drivers ten days to produce their certificate of insurance or exemption at a garda station of their choice.

"Legislation changes in the act required that all vehicles insured in the Republic of Ireland need to be included on the national fleet database.

"This would allow gardai check if a vehicle is insured or not by pointing a registration reader at the vehicle.

"We do not have access to a real time data base", he said.

Mr Nicholson told the conference that if gardai were given a proper real time data base, it would significantly change the number of detections and reduce the incentive for persons to drive without insurance.

The conference backed the call on the minister to introduce the database.

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