U.K. government may stop uninsured drivers from buying gas

UK Auto InsuranceThe British government is currently considering an initiative to stop drivers without insurance from being able to refuel their vehicles.

The program would involve the use of the thousands of cameras with license plate recognition technology – that have already been implemented to help prevent drivers from fueling up and leaving without paying – to be reworked to be able to provide a cross-checking against the insurance and tax records with the government. The pump would operate only if both insurance and tax records match within the database.

The government has chosen to use this vast array of closed-circuit cameras, following an Ernst & Young presentation. That firm would be involved in the implementation of the new program.

According to Graeme Swan, a partner at Ernst & Young, “The key to this is simplicity. Connecting the existing technology … is relatively inexpensive and wouldn’t be a big information technology program.” He added that there should not be any “Big Brother” worries as there is no additional database, nor are records being kept or vehicles being tracked. It is simply using the same technology to implement a new rule that states that if the vehicle is not insured, it cannot be gassed up.

It is estimated that approximately 4 percent of drivers in the United Kingdom do not have insurance. Comparatively, in the United States, it is believed that about 13.8 percent of drivers are uninsured. While UK car insurance rules are different, stating that vehicles not insured are seized. According to data from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, there are approximately 1,500 vehicle seizures per week, and about 40 percent of those vehicles are never reclaimed by their owners.

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