Gardaí call for real-time insurance database to help catch uninsured drivers

Middle-ranking gardaí are calling for a real-time insurance database to help them catch uninsured drivers.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors wants Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to take action on the area.

At the third day of their annual conference, delegates cited figures from the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland which estimated there were 150,000 uninsured vehicles in the Republic.

Sergeant Roger Nicholson, from the Westmeath branch, told the conference the detection of drivers without motor insurance was a very important task for all gardaí and the roads policing unit, in particular.

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

He said the number of claims made relating to uninsured or untraced drivers in 2015 was 2,516 and that this increased to 2,758 in 2017.

He said:

“All vehicles are required to have their disc displayed on the windscreen but this does not state that the driver is insured.”

He said gardaí 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.”

He said 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 gardaí 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 database,” he said.

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