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Ireland could have the highest level of uninsured vehicles in the EU

The number of insured vehicles increased by 13,626 in a year to 188,000, which is 1 in every 12 private vehicles on Irish roads.

THE LEVEL OF uninsured vehicles in this country is 3 times the rate in the UK and 4 times the average across the EU/ EEA area, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport will be told later today.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which will appear before the committee, recently published research that showed that 1 in every 12 private vehicles on Irish roads are uninsured.

MIBI is a not for profit organisation that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles. 

In 2022 there was a total of just under 188,000 private vehicles driving without insurance in this country.  

This represented an increase of 13,626 uninsured vehicles over the 2021 figures. 

In their presentation to the Oireachtas Committee, the MIBI has also undertaken an analysis on the level of uninsured driving across the EU, EEA as well as the UK and Switzerland.

The most recent European data comes from 2021, when Ireland recorded a level of 7.8% uninsured vehicles. This was the second highest level in the EU at the time, behind only 8.2% in Greece.

However the updated figures for Ireland show that in 2022 the level of uninsured driving reached 8.3%.

This would put Ireland at the highest level of uninsured driving in the EU if Greece’s maintained the level of uninsured vehicles over the same period. 

MIBI - Percentage of Uninsured Vehicles in Europe MIBI MIBI

In the UK the level of uninsured vehicles was 2.5%, France 2%, Croatia 1.4%, Romania 1.2%, Iceland and Sweden 0.7%, Poland 0.3%, while Germany and Finland had effectively no uninsured vehicles.

Of the 29 countries across the EU and EEA (as well as the UK and Switzerland) where data was available, the average level of uninsured vehicles was 1.8%.

This means that Ireland had 4.3 times the average level of uninsured vehicles across the EU/ EEA in 2021. 

Speaking ahead of his appearance at the Joint Oireachtas Committee, David Fitzgerald, CEO of the MIBI said:

“For Ireland to potentially be the worst country in the EU for uninsured vehicles should make everyone in this country concerned about the rule of law and road safety sit up and take notice.”

“That is a startingly high figure and it shows how much of a problem uninsured driving has become in this country.”

“Every year the MIBI pays out in the region of €70 million in compensation to victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers. In 2021, the average cost of each claim paid to the victim of an uninsured driver came to €78,736,” Fitzgerald said.

“We are a not for profit organisation, so the funding for that compensation is gathered from all the companies who provide motor insurance in Ireland.”

“Practically, that means that the law abiding motorists are subsidising uninsured drivers to the tune of approximately €30 – €35 every time they renew their motor insurance policies.  That number will increase if the level of uninsured driving continues to grow.”

Since MIBI was founded in 1955 it has paid out paid out over €2 billion in compensation, and the group estimates that if current trends continue the level of uninsured private vehicles is likely to pass the 200,000 mark in the next 12 to 18 months.

Under Irish law, the penalties for vehicles found without valid insurance include An Garda Síochána having the power to seize the vehicle on the spot, as well as other significant penalties such as an automatic court appearance, five penalty points and a substantial fine. 

MIBI has called for the enactment and implementation of the Road Traffic and Roads Bill which enables the full application of the Gardaí’s ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) system.

This would allow Gardaí to see if a car is insured by scanning a number plate.

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