Caught by automation

Caught by automation

'You don't need to be driving to be caught without insurance' – this is the message uninsured drivers need to know after it's revealed warnings are being issued to as many as 3,000 uninsured drivers on a daily basis thanks to an automated scheme operated by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

In 2017 the data-led analysis of vehicles meant warnings were sent to hundreds of thousands of motorists who appeared to be uninsured and around 250,000 people were automatically issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Data held by the Motor Insurance Database (MID) - which is a central record of all UK motor insurance policies - is systematically compared with DVLA vehicle records to identify drivers that appear to have no insurance.

The automated process means thousands of warnings known as Insurance Advisory Letters (IAL) can be issued daily without the need to catch uninsured drivers on the road. IALs warn recipients to insure their vehicle or if it is 'off the road' to make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to DVLA. Those who fail to comply (around one in every three) receive a fixed penalty notice and could face court prosecution, a £1,000 fine and their vehicle being seized and crushed.

'There really is nowhere to hide. Data enables us to easily identify vehicles that appear without insurance. By using automation alongside ongoing police efforts we've helped to half the number of uninsured drivers on UK roads over the past 10 years'. Neil Drane, head of enforcement at MIB.

In October 2018 the 5 millionth warning letter was sent to the owner of a Rover in Staffordshire. This milestone comes seven years after the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation in 2011 which gave MIB and DVLA powers to identify and take action against registered keepers of vehicles that appear to be uninsured and not SORN.

Uninsured driving is a problem that seriously affects the lives of innocent victims and costs millions each year. Victims of drivers who are uninsured or can't be traced can seek compensation from MIB. This bill is paid for by the insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists.

If a member of the public wants to know if their vehicle is showing as insured on the MID, they can check for free at or speak to their insurer.

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