In most developed countries it is law to have your car insured. In South Africa this is not a requirement – and it is with a sense of fear that you ask a friend who has been in an accident “Do you have car insurance?” I have recently been called to assist a friend at an accident scene – and neither he nor the other party were insured!
I have come across some interesting international data on car insurance and I would like to share a few of these facts:
- According to 11News, in the state of Texas it is estimated that 15 percent of drivers are uninsured.
- A suburb of Bradford in the UK has been named as the ‘uninsured driving capital of Britain’ with nearly half the motorists there driving illegally without cover.
- It appears that the number of uninsured drivers have soared as a result of the recession, with vehicle owners trying to cut expenses and seeing insurance as “a bit of a luxury”.
- Vehicle owners are cutting corners on motoring costs by failing to renew their car insurance.
- Regionally, London has 1 in 8 cars (13 per cent) in the capital flagged as being driven illegally because they were uninsured.
- In the UK over 232,000 people were convicted for driving uninsured last year – one conviction every three minutes.
- Three people every hour are injured and three people every week are killed by uninsured drivers across the UK.
From 2011 the UK Government will be tightening up car insurance rules by introducing so-called ‘continuous insurance enforcement’, which means that cars must be continuously insured even if they aren’t being used. Traffic Authorities are using automatic number plate recognition technology to identify uninsured drivers. If pulled over without car insurance, the owner risk having the car confiscated, is likely to be crushed and the owner will be prosecuted.
In South Africa it should be so much more important to have your vehicle insured. Industry experts however believe that less than 30 percent of the vehicles on South African roads are insured! Car insurance should not be a luxury, or something forced upon the vehicle owner by legislation – but should be a necessity! How many reasons do you need to convince you of the importance of car insurance?
The Arrive Alive website has information on the death toll on our roads and the number of fatal accidents in a section on Accident Statistics. These are only the data on “fatal accidents” and there are many more accidents with damage to only the vehicle!
We have also recently discussed on this Blog the recently released Crime Statistics for 2009. View this section to find statistics on vehicle theft, hijackings, smash-and –grab etc.
These numbers should provide more than enough motivation to change the mindset of vehicle owners from “an unfortunate expense” to “a matter of urgency and a necessity before going on the road”!
We should perhaps also consider another important “downside” to not having car insurance as a requirement by law. Vehicle owners without car insurance might tend to have their vehicles repaired by the inexpensive backyard mechanics and panel beaters. In a country where we have so many non-roadworthy vehicles this could pose a significant threat to the safety of other road users!!