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Everyone knows the importance of having an insured vehicle, whether you have been involved in an accident yourself or know someone who has been. Insuring vehicles protects both the innocent and responsible parties in a collision. Insurance is an important part of road safety and can have some severe consequences for those found driving without.

Despite this, there has been a significant increase in the number of uninsured drivers on Ireland’s roads. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland have recorded there were more than 151,000 uninsured private vehicles on Irish roads in November 2016, compared with 85,062 in 2011. As such, almost 7 per cent of the vehicles on the road are uninsured as a result of either not having insurance at all, or by being in breach of the terms.

The increase has been partially blamed on rising costs of insurance in Ireland which has increased by 70 per cent in the last 3 years with a 38 per cent increase in the last 12 months alone. Unfortunately, not being able to afford insurance is not a defence for driving without it.

The MIBI has outlined the risks faced by drivers if they drive without insurance. Although the victims of uninsured drivers will be compensated, the MIBI have the ability to sue the uninsured driver for the amount paid out as a result of their lack of insurance. Also, anyone caught driving without it, faces the possibility of having their car seized at the road side, as well as a mandatory court appearance, at least five penalty points and a large fine.

The MIBI is a statutory organisation set up to deal with personal injury and damage to motor vehicles caused by uninsured or untraced motor vehicles.

The MIBI is funded by all insured drivers and run by the insurance companies. Subject to the written terms of the MIBI agreement the MIBI will pay out claimants injured by uninsured or untraced motor vehicles. The increase in the numbers of uninsured drivers is worrying because it may adversely affect premiums. Presumably the enormous increases in insurance premiums is affecting the ability of many drivers to obtain insurance at reasonable rates. Hopefully the increase in premiums will stabilise and this will in turn stem the tide of uninsured drivers.

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