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Driving Without Insurance Offences

Driving without insurance cases typically begin with a Single Justice Procedure Notice. The case may not get to court if you are eligible for and accept a fixed penalty notice. The law requires drivers to have a minimum of third party vehicle insurance in place if you drive on a road or public place. A public place may include private land such as a car park. It will depend on whether the general public has access to the area.

The vehicle itself must be covered by an insurance policy even if you have fully-comprehensive cover on another vehicle.

If you’ve received a single justice procedure notice for driving without insurance, we can help you.

Driving without insurance carries a minimum of 6 points upon conviction.

If you are a New Driver and have passed your driving test less than 2 years ago, please get in touch before accepting a fixed penalty.

If you are not a new driver but are at risk of reaching 12 or more points within 3 years, speak to us.

The Law on Motor Vehicle Insurance

Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that:
“A person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person such a policy of insurance.”
Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence. This means that the offence may be committed if you did not know that you weren’t covered by insurance.

If you would like to know more please contact us today.

What do the police have to prove in cases of driving without insurance?

The prosecution have to prove that:

  • You used a motor vehicle
  • on a road or other public place.

Once the above has been proven, you are required to show that you were covered by insurance.

Employees caught driving without insurance may have a special defence. Also, you may avoid your licence being endorsed with penalty points if you have a special reasons argument.

For more information please see our FAQs on no insurance offences below.

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Legal Definition

No insurance, using a vehicle without insurance, causing or permitting the use of a vehicle without insurance

Main Legislation

Section 143 Road Traffic Act 1988

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Maximum Penalties

6-8 penalty points, or driving ban (no maximum but guidelines suggest up to 12 months)

Fine: Unlimited.

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Court

Magistrates only (unless an appeal).

Imprisonable? No.

Driving without insurance Offence FAQs

What do the police have to prove for causing death by dangerous driving?

The prosecution must prove that the driving was dangerous and that the defendant caused the death by driving dangerously.:

The Road Traffic Act 1988 provides that a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if:

  • The way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
  • It would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.

The prosecution must also prove that the defendant caused the death of another person.

The law does not require that the defendant’s driving must be a significant or substantial cause of death.

The driving need not be the only cause of death. However, the driving must be a cause and it must be something more than a slight or trifling link. It is important to note that to be a cause of death in law, the driving must in some way be the actual cause of death, and not simply create an occasion for an accident.

What is the difference between causing death by dangerous and careless driving?

The distinction is primarily based upon the standard driving displayed. It is a matter of fact and degree.

The definition of careless driving (driving without due care and attention) is contained in section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It is:

“Driving in a manner that falls below what would be expected of a careful and competent driver.”

As can be seen from the definition, it is virtually identical to that of dangerous driving apart from the use of the word “below” in place of the words “far below”.

Are there any examples of causing death by dangerous driving?

Examples of dangerous driving include:

  • Aggressive driving (such as sudden lane changes or cutting into a line of vehicles) or racing or competitive driving or speed that is highly inappropriate for the prevailing road or traffic conditions
  • Disregard of traffic lights and other road signs which, on an objective analysis, would appear to be deliberate
  • Driving a vehicle knowing it has a dangerous defect or with a load which presents a danger to other road users
  • Using a hand-held mobile phone or other handheld electronic equipment when the driver was avoidably and dangerously distracted by that use
  • Driving when too tired to stay awake or where the driver is suffering from impaired ability such as having an arm or leg in plaster, or impaired eyesight.

Not all displays of driving will fall clearly the category of dangerous or careless driving, so you must seek advice well before entering your plea. You do not have to use the same solicitor who represented you at the police station, and in cases involving serious offences, it is often best to seek specialist motoring advice.

Are there any other ways to avoid penalty points?

Yes, you can avoid points and/or a ban if you have special reasons.

Special reasons are different from defences. It is like saying: “I drove without insurance, but I have a really good reason for it”.  You must have a very good reason as the courts are generally reluctant to find special reasons. If the court finds special reasons, the magistrates have the discretion not to impose penalty points.

Examples include:

  • The insurance company cancelled the insurance and didn’t inform the policyholder
  • Being told by a parent that they were insured to drive
  • Driving a very short distance – such as re-parking a car
  • Driving in an emergency

See our page on special reasons for more details.

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