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There were an extra 14,000 uninsured vehicles on Irish roads last year

MIBI said the figures show an urgent need for an automatic number plate recognition system.

File photo. M50 in Dublin
File photo. M50 in Dublin
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE NUMBER OF uninsured private vehicles on Irish roads rose to 164,773 last year, an increase of 13,863 from 2018.

That’s according to new figures released today by the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

Its statistics said that 7.58% of the almost 2.2 million private vehicles in use in Ireland were uninsured, up from 7.16% in 2018. 

MIBI – a body set up for the purposes of compensating victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles – said these statistics show an urgent need for the implementation of a motor third-party liability database.

This would support an automatic number plate recognition system that would allow gardaí to identify uninsured vehicles by scanning their licence plate.

It said it was working with An Garda Síochána, the government and the insurance companies to bring in this system.

“A jump of almost 14,000 uninsured vehicles in a single year is a statistic that should worry every single Irish road user,” MIBI chief exectutive David Fitzgerald said.

“Uninsured drivers are a threat to road safety for the law-abiding majority of private vehicle drivers, making Irish roads less safe and a lot more hazardous.”

Fitzgerald said such a number plate recognition system is already up and running on a trial basis, and he said it’s understood it has had a “tremendous impact” based on advice from An Garda Síochána. 

He added he was concerned that “with the economy facing a difficult period”, there may be a further increase in uninsured driving on Irish roads. 

All vehicles on the roads need valid motor insurance. Any vehicle found to not have valid insurance can be seized on the spot by gardaí with the driver facing a court appearance, five penalty points and a fine.

MIBI said it also pursued the driver for costs in the case of accidents involving uninsured vehicles. The average costs involved in such an accident can exceed €50,000, it said.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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