A nationwide crackdown on uninsured drivers is aimed to be implemented by 2019 following the enactment of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 earlier this year. A hand held device, which allows Gardaí to scan number plates, will be incremental in detecting the number of uninsured drivers on Irish roads. The number of uninsured drivers on the road at present is estimated to be around 150,000. Private insurance companies have provided An Garda Siochana with a list of insured and uninsured vehicles based on the vehicles licence plate number and insurers name to be used as part of a database which will assist the Gardaí in identifying uninsured drivers. Under the wording of section 5 of the 2018 Act the phrase “driver licence number”, as so stated under section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2016, has been changed to “driver number” which can used as a unique identifier and makes the implementation of such a device possible, as outlined in the Cost of Insurance Working Group report on the Cost of Motor Insurance, which was released earlier this week. The system was trialed in the Limerick Garda district in recent months and was considered a success.
The obligation to be insured or guaranteed is provided for under Section 56 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as substituted by s.18 (1) (a) of the Road Traffic Act 2006. The penalty for the above is, upon summary conviction, a fine not exceeding €5000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both, along with 5 penalty points and a period of disqualification. A statement from AA insurance company claims that insurance policies could be reduced on average by up to €100 if the above measures are successfully implemented. Junior Minister with responsibility for insurance reform Michael D'Arcy said the implementation of the insurance working group's recommendations was a priority and that he is hopeful there will be a further drop in insurance quotes in the next year.