Alan Scott-Davies – Senior Legal Claims Advisor
The number of casualties resulting from road traffic accidents that are reported to the police each is year is in excess of 200,000 with a further 23,000 people injured as a result of ‘hit and run’ accidents, or accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers. The DVLA are also reporting that there are a growing number of those who have their licences revoked as a result of receiving 6 or more penalty points in their first two years since passing their basic test that continue to drive. They are required under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 to re-apply for their provisional licence and re-take both their theory and practical test – but many take the chance of not doing anything and hope that they don’t get stopped by the police. The consequences of driving without a valid licence, which invalidates the motor insurance policy, are obvious if you happen to suffer an injury as a result of the negligence of an uninsured driver.
We should all be thankful that the Motor Insurers Bureau [MIB] exists. The MIB was established in 1946 and is a non-profit making organisation providing a means of being able to pay compensation to victims who are injured in circumstances that I outlined above. It is funded by all UK motor insurers who all contribute and pay a share of its costs. Motor insurers are only allowed to operate if they belong to the Bureau. There are two agreements between the Government and the motor insurance industry under which the MIB operates. The first relates specifically to uninsured drivers and the second to untraced drivers. This shouldn’t be seen as an open invitation for anyone to claim compensation and both agreements contain strict criteria under which an injured victim is entitled to claim compensation and this ensures, so far as possible, that only legitimate claims are successful.
Those people who deliberately make that decision to drive without insurance, a valid driving licence, or simply decide to leave the scene of an accident give no thought to the misery that they create for others. For the innocent victims they are left with trying to recover from their injuries which can take many months, having to take time off work which often results in a loss of earnings and only adds to the burden of trying to pay their household bills and supporting their families. It is why the police are entirely justified in pursuing motorists for a variety of traffic offences and their work, in partnership with the MIB, is invaluable for the vast majority who drive legally and have proper consideration for other road users.