RAC Cars News


Leaving The Scene

By raccars Published

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In our increasingly connected world, it's becoming harder and harder to hide your whereabouts. GPS location pinpointing, CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras are among the devices used to keep track of what we're all doing. While this has disturbing implications for privacy, it does make it far easier for police to track down criminals - which makes it all the more strange that the Motor Insurer's Bureau (MIB) has highlighted a worrying increase in the number of drivers leaving the scene of an accident...

The increase is significant rather than dramatic. There were 13,483 cases of untraced drivers in 2014, compared to 12,884 the previous year, a rise of about 5%. However, the change is particularly noticeable as it is the first increase for about ten years.

The Bureau handles some 30,000 claims every year involving uninsured and untraced drivers. Three in five of these come from drivers who cannot be found after fleeing the scene of an accident. Some of these claims can be cross referenced, as one of the main reasons for drivers to hit and then run is that they are uninsured. Last year, 130 road deaths were caused by untraced drivers.

The MIB doesn't believe imposing stricter penalties for the offence will help to solve the problem, and, instead, is trying to work out why the number of hit and runs is on the rise. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is also interested in the results of the MIB's research.

In many offences, strict punishments have been a very effective deterrent - the number of uninsured vehicles has been cut by about half by the threat of the cars being crushed, a programme largely driven by the MIB. Every insurer is automatically a member of the MIB, which was created in 1946, to provide compensation in cases of an uninsured or untraceable driver being involved in an accident. £417 million in compensation was issued to the victims of these accidents in 2008, but the law seems unable to stamp out the problem. It is estimated that 2.8% of cars or about million drivers are still on the roads uninsured.

Increasing the amount of pubic surveillance on our streets is one way of pressurising the law breaking minority, to make them aware that they cannot hit and run with impunity because whatever they do, wherever they do it, they will be seen. However, the MIB claims that the problem lies with the small number of hit and run drivers who simply don't care about the consequences.

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