Compare quotes here

How easy it is to get your car impounded

You are driving down the road, happily minding your own business when the dreaded blue flashing light appears in your driving mirror. You pull over to the side of the road, a police officer comes over and tells you that he has reason to believe that you are driving without insurance. You know full well that you have a valid insurance policy, in fact you renewed it only a few days ago, but hardly surprisingly when the police officer asks you to prove that you are covered you are unable to put your hands immediately on your certificate since it is at home, and you are many miles away in your car.

Without more ado the officer asks you to get of your car, tells you that he is going to impound your car unless you can produce your documents immediately, speaks to someone on his mobile phone, and a short while afterwards your car is hoisted onto the back of a flat bed truck and hauled away. You are told that not only will you have to pay a whopping great fee to get your car back, but the longer you leave it the more it will cost you.

'Don't be ridiculous' you say, 'this is Britain and this type of thing doesn't happen here!'. Yep, this is Britain, and yep this does happen!

Something like 5% of the cars on our roads are driven by people who are uninsured and they are a very serious threat to law-abiding motorists. However, sometimes nuts are cracked by sledgehammers, and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005 was not so much a sledge as a steam hammer. It has always been accepted that the majority of people, for very valid security reasons, do not leave their insurance details in their car or carry them about with them and it has always been held that if we are stopped and asked to produce our documents we are given seven days in which to do so. This particular act drove a horse and cart through these customs; the excuse being that we now have a Motor Insurance Database which is supposed to carry information about the insurance on every car in the country. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near 100% accurate, and although insurance companies are under severe pressure to keep it completely up to date the system itself is not as efficient as it can be, and it is quite common for it to take several days or even a week or so for new policies to be fully loaded and available for the police to access.

We now have cameras all over the country which record the number plates of cars which are driving past, and these numbers are compared against the database. If there is no match between the number plate and an insurance certificate, the police are informed and the first thing you know about it is when you are pulled over and challenged to produce your documents. If you cannot do so, the police officers concerned are well within their rights to seize your car if they believe that you are uninsured. This means that perfectly innocent people going about their normal business can find themselves severely inconvenienced and facing a large financial penalty because of imperfections in a computer system.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet tested this rule In the Court of Human Rights; it will be very interesting indeed to see what a judgement will be on what many of us would reasonably consider to be a diabolical injustice.

Contact Us    Privacy Policy    Disclaimer   Home

All graphics, text and scripts on this site are copyright BusyGeeks 2011