It is compulsory that a vehicle should be covered with third party insurance for it to be used on UK roads.

However, in September 2015 it was revealed that the number of uninsured drivers rose by 10 per cent between July 2014 and July 2015.

This worrying figure, released by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), has once again opened up the debate surrounding whether the penalty for having an uninsured vehicle on the road should be significantly increased in a bid to halt the thousands of law-breaking motorists.

The current punishment for driving without insurance is between 6-8 penalty points plus a fine, although in certain circumstances, an instant driving ban will be imposed. The fine is means tested though, and can be up to £5,000.

However, the average fine for those caught without insurance is only around £300, and this is thought to be the main reason why the numbers have risen following a ten year decrease of uninsured drivers.

Car owners, especially young drivers, are thought to be taking the risk of being caught without an insurance policy as the fine is considerably cheaper than the cost of taking the cover out.

The average cost of car insurance for young drivers in their late teens and early 20s is often around £2,000, sometimes reaching £2,000 for the so-called 'high risk' young driver, meaning a resulting fine would be a fraction of what they would have already paid.

This has lead to a proposal that the minimum fine for driving without insurance should be increase to £5,000, an amount that would almost certainly override the cost for taking out insurance, with compulsory confiscation of the vehicle to follow swiftly. Though if caught driving without insurance, it will then be incredibly difficult to be successful when applying for insurance.

On the other hand, there is no way to guarantee that all car owners who are driving uninsured are doing so intentionally. These unknowing drivers have often suffered an issue with direct debit, and although these may receive sympathy from the Court, they have still committed the offence, and as car owners are responsible for arranging the insurance they would still be issued with the penalty.

Car owners who are not actively using their uninsured vehicle on the road, but still have it sitting on the driveway or in a garage are still breaking the law. In order to avoid breaking the law, the vehicle's keeper should make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), which will officially declare the vehicle as 'off-road'.

One of the key issues with uninsured drivers is that if they are at fault for an accident resulting in damages and personal injuries, it is almost impossible for successfully recovering damages from them. In fact, it has been widely reported that uninsured drivers are costing the country more than £380 million a year.

It seems there may only be one winner in the debate on whether fines for uninsured drivers should be increase, but with the introduction of an increase fine only coming into place two years ago, the likelihood of a further surge in the near future is tough to predict.

What are your thoughts on a tougher penalty for driving without insurance?

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