One-third of drivers in high-speed fatalities uninsured

Motor insurance: Over past year cost of premiums up by between 20% and 35%

A study by the authority of speed-related deaths between 2008 and 2012 has found 32 per cent of culpable drivers “had no record of insurance at the time of collision”. Photograph: The Irish Times

A study by the authority of speed-related deaths between 2008 and 2012 has found 32 per cent of culpable drivers “had no record of insurance at the time of collision”. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

One-third of drivers involved in fatal high-speed collisions are uninsured, according to new research which examines five years of forensic crash reports.

The head of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdock, has said the potential for rising insurance costs to increase the number of people driving without cover is an issue of concern.

Over the past year, the cost of premiums has risen by between 20 and 35 per cent.

A study by the authority of speed-related deaths between 2008 and 2012 has found 32 per cent of culpable drivers “had no record of insurance at the time of collision”.

The figures apply to 274 crashes – of the 867 fatal incidents in total – where speed was identified as a contributory factor. These crashes resulted in 322 deaths.



While acknowledging any correlation between insurance costs and the frequency of people driving without cover was difficult to determine, Ms Murdock said it was a potential problem. “Obviously we would like to make sure that people are insured and if cost is driving people to drive without insurance that’s a big concern,” she said.

The authority’s study, Fatal Collisions 2008-2012 – Excessive Speed as a Factor, examines Garda investigation reports containing forensic collision data.

Wrong direction

“If someone has the propensity to drive uninsured they probably break other laws such as speeding,” Ms Murdock said.

The Department of Finance is carrying out a review of the insurance sector. “The cost of insurance is determined by a number of factors, some of the most significant of which are the frequency and scale of claims, the cost of claims, and the operation of the insurance market,” Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said in the Dáil.

Other factors includ more engagement of solicitors.

Ms Murdock, speaking yesterday at an awards ceremony for children involved in road safety awareness projects, said fatality statistics were displaying a worrying pattern this year with a notable increase in the number of deaths at weekends.

“Unfortunately, the trend this year is actually in the wrong direction. It’s now seven more than this time last year up until April 30th,” she said.

“Almost double the number of people are being killed on Saturdays and Sundays compared to last year.”