Four out of five people believe that new penalties for driving without insurance are ‘not tough enough’, according to a poll conducted by the AA.
An increase in the fixed penalty for driving without insurance – from £200 to £300, with no change to the six penalty points awarded – was among new driving penalties that came into force on 16 August.
20,000 AA members were polled and the majority believe that the penalty increase will make no difference to the number of uninsured drivers, which the AA estimates to be around one in 25.
81% of respondents said that the penalty increase is ‘not tough enough’, while 71% believe that six penalty points is also insufficient.
Only 35% agreed that fines should be means-tested, while 45% felt that fines ‘make no difference’. 54% believed that offenders should face a prison sentence and two-thirds (63%) said that electronic tagging should be used to prevent re-offending. 75% say that Community Payback orders should be imposed and 81% agree that an offender’s car should always be confiscated (which already happens in the majority of cases).
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says that while the penalty increase is welcome, it will do nothing to deter the ‘motoring underclass’ who habitually drive without cover.
Mr Douglas said: "These are typically young men in cars that may have no MoT or tax, while offenders often have no driving licence or are already disqualified.
“For the habitual offender who is used to the inside of a courtroom the present fines are hardly a disincentive. Many go on to obtain another cheap banger for cash, no questions asked, and continue offending.
"Uninsured drivers cost this country at least £380m every year and add about £33 to the cost of every car insurance policy, quite apart from emergency services and court costs. Yet although the penalties are already severe, the current regime is clearly not a deterrent."
Click here to read the full AA news release.