From 31st July 2023, the new Road Traffic and Roads Act (2023) takes effect.
This is excellent news for all law abiding motorists in the country as this new law will make it easier for An Garda Síochána to identify any vehicles that are being driven without insurance. Driving without insurance is illegal.
From now on, thanks to the provisions included in this legislation, the MIBI will be able to share more extensive insurance data from the Irish Motor Insurance Database (IMID) with the Gardaí.
On a daily basis the Gardaí will receive a file from the MIBI that contains the most up to date information about the insurance cover applying to each vehicle on our roads. The information will include the insurance status of the vehicle and the details of the driver or drivers who are covered by that policy.
Members of An Garda Síochána all across the country will be able to swiftly check the insurance details of any vehicles they encounter through the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology in their Garda cars or through their new mobility devices.
Thanks to the extensive data included in the system, as set out in the new Act, details for an estimated 3 million vehicles and over 5 million drivers will all be available to the Gardaí in a matter of seconds.
The MIBI has been pushing for this vital legislation for quite some time as we see it as an essential step in the battle against uninsured driving in this country.
In 2021, the Republic of Ireland had the second highest proportion of uninsured vehicles in the EU, a figure which was 3 times as high as the number in the UK and 4 times the EU average. By 2022 the number of vehicles driving illegally without insurance on Irish roads grew even further, reaching almost 188,000. That means 1 in every 12 private vehicles on our roads did not have insurance.
Under Irish law, the penalties for vehicles found without valid insurance include An Garda Síochána having the power to seize the vehicle on the spot, as well as other significant penalties such as an automatic court appearance, five penalty points and a substantial fine.
Now that the data in this IMID system is available to An Garda Síochána, we look forward to seeing it being utilised all across the country. This should make it a much more challenging environment for anyone who attempts to drive illegally without insurance.
The new system represents a technological net to help catch these illegal motorists. Hopefully, as that net tightens, we will start to see a significant reduction in the number of uninsured vehicles on Irish roads over the coming months.