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File photo of a garda checkpoint in Dublin Alamy Stock Photo
new system

Thousands of vehicles seized as gardaí check motor insurance status via app

Following its introduction in January, the new system has led to the seizure of 7,307 vehicles.


THOUSANDS OF VEHICLES have been seized in recent months since gardaí have been able to check a driver’s insurance status via an app.

Under the new system, which was introduced in January, frontline gardaí have access to the information details of more than three million vehicles.

Following its introduction at the start of the year, the new system has led to the seizure of 7,307 vehicles. Some 1,840 vehicles were seized last month relating to no insurance.

These details are updated on a daily basis and an app allows An Garda Síochána to identify if a vehicle is insured and who it is insured to, simply by checking the registration plate.

The insurance details have been provided by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) through the Irish Motor Insurance Database (IMID).

Justice Minister Helen McEntee will today officially launch the new law enforcement system.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, McEntee said: “If a car is stopped, gardaí will immediately be able to assess whether or not the car has insurance.”

Research conducted by MIBI showed that in 2022 there were approximately 188,000 uninsured private vehicles on Irish roads. The level of uninsured driving in the country was found to be the second highest in the EU.

Currently, about 50 vehicles a day are being seized. At this rate, some 18,000 vehicles would be seized this year – a fraction of the overall number of uninsured vehicles in Ireland.

When asked about this, McEntee said the number of seizures will increase but this “will take time”.

‘Devastating implications’

The minister said there also needs to be a change in people’s behaviour.

It’s not enough just to catch people out and to take people off the road. We need people to be insuring their cars, we need people to know that it is a serious offence to drive without insurance.

“It’s not just the potential to be given a serious fine, significant penalty points, but there’s also potential for up to six months in prison.”

McEntee noted there can also be “devastating implications” and “serious life consequences” for people who are involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured driver.

Today’s launch event in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, marks the beginning of National Insurance Enforcement Day which will see gardaí place a special focus on identifying uninsured drivers on roads around the country.

Speaking at the launch, Paula Hilman, An Garda Síochána’s Assistant Commissioner of Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said the new system places gardaí “in a stronger position to detect those breaking the law by driving without insurance”.

“Improved technology and data sharing are helping to transform roads policing in Ireland and ultimately help An Garda Síochána to keep road users safe,” she added.

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