Judge says he won’t jail young drivers for having no insurance
‘Half the youth population is blighted with excessive premiums,’ says Longford judge
Car insurance premiums ‘are so excessive’ they are preventing young people from getting to work in rural areas, Judge Seamus Hughes said.
A District Court judge has said he won’t be sending young drivers to prison for not having insurance.
Speaking at Longford District Court on Friday, Judge Seamus Hughes said: “We have half the youth population in this country blighted with excessive premiums.”
He said the “huge increase” in uninsured young drivers had become a national problem, blaming the rising cost of insurance premiums on “excessive claims” being awarded.
“We should adopt the English approach,” he added.
Judge Hughes said accidents, often involving cars containing very young children in locations like shopping centre carparks, were resulting in damages claims on psychological grounds.
“They are getting €13,000 and €14,000 for claims that a child has resumed wetting the bed.”
Meanwhile, he said, young people who could not afford excessive insurance were getting disqualified because they took a chance in order to get to work.
“We are in a vicious circle and the powers that be need to do something about exaggerated claims.”
Judge Hughes said “new premiums are so excessive” that they were preventing young people from getting to work in rural areas.
“The biggest enterprise that started in this county, which is riddled with dereliction, is in Ballymahon,” an area poorly serviced by public transport, he pointed out.
“It is painful to be sitting here as a judge in rural Ireland to see the number of uninsured young people being convicted of having no insurance and you have to ask yourself: Can they afford it?”
Judge Hughes suggested the issue might explain emigration from rural areas.