Since 20 June 2011, it has been an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle (as well as to drive an uninsured vehicle). The new rules mean that any vehicle in your fleet i.e. those in use and those not in use (even if they are parked off-road at the operating centre) must either be insured or declared to be the subject of a Statutory Off Road Notification (“SORN”).
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (“MIB”) and the DVLA work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles by comparing DVLA records against those held on the Motor Insurance Database. If it appears that a vehicle has no insurance and is not declared to be the subject of a SORN, the MIB will issue an Insurance Advisory Letter (“IAL”) to the registered keeper, advising them that their vehicle appears to have no insurance and advising them of the steps they must take to avoid a penalty.
If the IAL is ignored and the registered keeper of the vehicle takes no action, they face:
• A fixed penalty of £100 (which will be reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days);
• Prosecution (if the offence continues), where the penalty upon conviction is a potential maximum fine of £1000;
• The vehicle being immobilised, seized or destroyed.
Registered keepers should, however, note that payment of any penalty imposed does not replace the need for the vehicle to be insured or declared to be the subject of a SORN.
What should operators do?
• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed and insured, you do not need to do anything until the tax and insurance expire. You should, however, check that your motor insurance details are recorded correctly on the Motor Insurance Database (www.askmid.com). If your details are incorrect, or not recorded, contact your insurance provider to update these details immediately.
• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed but not insured and is in use, you are already committing an offence – get insurance immediately.
• If your vehicle and/or fleet is taxed but not insured and is not in use (whether this be for a short period of time for, for example, maintenance or repair, or for a longer period of time whilst, for example, the vehicle is held in reserve), you must either:
o get insurance immediately;
o submit a SORN declaration (together with a refund application in respect of the tax) to the DVLA.
For passionate and pragmatic advice in relation to any aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik on 0161 828 1849 or 07831 291538 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org