More than 73,500 people were last year found guilty of keeping a vehicle that does not meet insurance requirements, figures have revealed.
Analysis of government data by garage chain Kwik Fit found the number of offenders had risen by 78 percent in five years, while the number of people taken to court for insurance-related infringements last year stood at around 169,000. That figure is up 26 percent on the 134,000 who went to court in 2013.
Normally, first-time offenders would face a fixed penalty notice of £100 for failing to comply with insurance requirements, but those appearing in court received an average fine of more than £200. As a result, Kwik Fit says the government raked in a total of more than £12.4 million from this offence alone.
According to the garage chain, most offences are the result of drivers keeping a car off the road but failing to register it as such. A car that is laid up for repairs or simply to preserve it over winter must either be insured or issued with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). That rule even applies if the vehicle is only used on private land.
To get a SORN, you must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) by post, over the phone or online. The notification is free, and will earn you a refund on any unused road tax, but the vehicle cannot be used on the road until it is taxed again.
Roger Griggs, Kwik Fit’s communications director, said : “Many drivers may assume that the offence of not meeting insurance requirements is due to making unapproved modifications or not maintaining their car properly, but in the majority of offences this is not the case. Drivers who decide not to use their car and take it car off road temporarily, for whatever reason, must ensure that they register a SORN with the DVLA.
“It is also vital to note that SORNs need to be renewed each year to ensure drivers keep within regulations. Registering a SORN is free, and as we have seen from our analysis, failing to do so can prove very costly.”
However, that isn’t the only insurance-related law motorists are flouting. According to Kwik Fit’s analysis, 2018 saw some 95,000 cases were brought against motorists for using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks - essentially driving while uninsured. In total, around a quarter (24 percent) of all vehicle offences in 2018 involved insurance.