Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Why using ANPR to catch out insurance cheats at petrol stations will never work

CONFESSION time, then, chaps and chapettes. Who out of this week's readers is driving around without their car insurance being up to scratch?

Apparently, just under 10% of the region's motorists are driving around without bothering with the pesky business of paying for cover, which means statistically at least one of you hasn't gone got any. After all, insurance is unbelievably expensive these days. It's also almost completely unfathomable and sold to you by an opera tenor who unites people from all walks of life because they all, without exception, would love nothing more than to have him removed from our TV screens for good.

Car insurance is confusing and expensive and as a result loads of you just can't be bothered with it. Even the Government, as I've mentioned previously, realise it.

Yet Whitehall's latest idea to crack down on the uninsured drivers - which I'm absolutely not one of, by the way - isn't going to work because while it's good in principle, it's got more holes than one of Jamie Oliver's colanders. As a bit of a self-confessed Dragons' Den addict, I just know that if it was some young business boffin's invention it'd be shot to pieces with just a handful of snide remarks from Duncan Bannatyne and a bad joke from Peter Jones. However, it's the Government who are suggesting it, so I will at least try to take it seriously.

In essence, they're on about fitting ANPR cameras, which can recognise car numberplates, to every petrol station in the country in a bid to spot uninsured cars as they pull in to fill up. The technology, which already works a treat on police cars, will then automatically tell the petrol pumps not to give the offending driver any fuel. And presumably give Plod a bell at the same time.

It's a great idea in principle but - Bannatyne mode activated - it will be horrendously expensive in practice, and it'd have to fitted to each and every one of Britain's 8,000 or so filling stations across the land. It'd also encourage even more crooks to clone car numberplates, siphoning would shoot up, and I can just see the court case where the one law-abiding driver, who the cameras clock by mistake, successfully sues for defamation after the system insinuates he's an insurance cheat.

It is, for all those reasons and a couple of others I can't squeeze into one Life On Cars column, a badly-thought out waste of what is basically YOUR money.

I'm out.


  1. Hey, I know that's the current model but I was saying it should be so that if you want insurance, it's on your vehicle. Why should people driving a car worth 2,500 have to be paying for the fact that others choose to drive a far more expensive car. Insurance should be optional and it only considers your car and driving history. I'd understand an argument for compulsory insurance solely for injury compensation when the injury is one that will affect the person for a long period of time.Thanks a lot>>>>>>>>>..
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