Garage ‘spies at the pumps’ could cut off fuel supply for uninsured drivers

Garage ‘spies at the pumps’ could cut off fuel supply for uninsured drivers

18th February 2020

Now that one in 25 motorists in Britain is driving uninsured – and these drivers are involved in collisions which kill about three people a week – the Government is considering cutting off their access to petrol or diesel by using ‘spies at the pumps’.

Accountants Ernst & Young are working with the Prime Minister’s Office on plans to identify uninsured drivers on garage forecourts and at fuel pumps via automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). The cameras, already installed to prevent motorists driving off without paying for fuel, could be used to cross-reference number plates against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database. A positive match, showing that a vehicle is without insurance or tax, would mean it is prevented from filling up.

Connecting the existing technology is relatively inexpensive and wouldn’t involve a big information technology programme. Graeme Swan, a partner at Ernst & Young, said: “There shouldn’t be concerns about ‘big brother’ because there is no new database, no vehicles are tracked and no record is kept. It’s simply a new rule of no insurance equals no fuel.”

According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which is funded by insurers to compensate victims of uninsured drivers, there are about 1.2m rogue motorists on the road today. A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “This is not a case of financial exclusion. There must be a tough crackdown on people who drive without insurance.”