Ireland sees steep rise in uninsured drivers

Ireland sees steep rise in uninsured drivers

There has been a significant increase in the number of uninsured drivers on Ireland's roads.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland is warning that there were more than 151,000 uninsured private vehicles on Irish roads last month.

It is urgently reminding motorists that being insured is not a choice but a strict legal obligation.

MIBI Chief Executive David Fitzgerald says motorists need to understand just how significant a risk they are facing if they drive without insurance.

He said: "They're risking their vehicles being seized by the side of the road by Gardaí, they face a mandatory court appearance with at least five penalty points and substantial fine.

"If they do injure somebody, the MIBI would compensate the victims, but then we have the powers to pursue the uninsured drivers for the cost of the compensation that we pay."

Mr Fitzgerald said: "The rise in the number of uninsured private vehicles is a significant cause of concern. Uninsured vehicles operating on Irish roads represent a real threat to Irish road safety."

Motorists have expressed deep anger over a 70% rise in premiums in the last three years and a 38% spike in the last year.

Mr Fitzgerald said: "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."

In 2011, 85,062 uninsured vehicles were on the roads. By this year to November that tally had risen to 151,392 or 7% of the total.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has opened an inquiry into suspected breaches of competition law on insurance cost increases.

Mr Fitzgerald said: "Anyone who drives without insurance is rolling the dice in a very high stakes game.

"Given the jump in uninsured driving we thought it was important to bring further awareness to the full severity of the consequences uninsured motorists can expect.

"Having a valid motor insurance policy is not a choice, it is a strict legal obligation which carries a heavy price for those who don't comply."

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