Thousands of drivers have been taken to court over this paperwork error

Thousands of drivers have been taken to court over this paperwork error
Thousands of drivers have been taken to court over this paperwork error

Tens of thousands of drivers have been taken to court in the last year for failing to keep the DVLA up to date.

New figures show that in 2018, 73,500 vehicle keepers ended up in court for keeping a vehicle which does not meet insurance requirements, paying out more than £12 million in fines.

That is on top of the 95,000 taken to court for driving an uninsured vehicle.

Off-road regulation

Keeping a vehicle which does not meet insurance requirements is different from driving one without insurance and covers a range of issues. However, one of the most common is keeping a car off the road but not registering it as such.

Even if you are keeping a car on private ground and have no intention of driving it on public roads it must either be insured or registered with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA.

Even if your car is undergoing a long-term restoration you need to make sure it’s insured or SORN’d. (Picture: Shutterstock)

This applies to vehicles used on private land, parked in a garage, or undergoing long term repairs or restoration and is easily overlooked by owners who are unaware of the rules, who simply forget  or assume that as long as it isn’t on a public road there is no need to insure it.

The figures, obtained by Kwik Fit, show that in England and Wales there has been a 75 per cent rise in the number of owners charged with the offence in the last five years.

Read more: How the most minor of accidents can invalidate your car insurance

While the first line of punishment is a fixed penalty notice of £100, the average fine for keepers taken to court over the last year was £205.

Costly mistake

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit says: “Many drivers may assume that the offence of not meeting insurance requirements is due to making unapproved modifications or not maintaining their car properly, but in the majority of offences this is not the case. Drivers who decide not to use their car and take it car off road temporarily, for whatever reason, must ensure that they register a SORN with the DVLA.

“It is also vital to note that SORNs need to be renewed each year to ensure drivers keep within regulations. Registering a SORN is free, and as we have seen from our analysis, failing to do so can prove very costly.”

Read more: Car insurance costs could fall as Government rethinks compensation rules

Rising offences

The Kwik Fit research found that overall, more than 169,000 motorists in England and Wales were taken to court in 2018 for insurance-related infringements – a 26 per cent rise compared to 2013.

In total, offences relating to insurance made up almost a quarter (24 per cent) of all vehicle offences in 2018. Last year more than £52m in fines were handed down to offenders, with the average fine reaching £353.

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