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A register of insured vehicles
A French government decree published in the Official Journal of 24 July 2018 has provided for the creation of a register of insured vehicles. All the information it contains will be made available to the French police and gendarmes as from 1 January 2019, making it easier to detect uninsured vehicles on the road.
What information will it contain?
The register will be maintained by the Association pour la gestion des informations sur le risque en assurance, an independent body in France that manages insurance data. It will contain certain information about the insurance policies taken out by insured persons, such as:
- the vehicle's registration number;
- the name of the insurer;
- the policy number and period of cover.
The accuracy of the information that appears in the insurance policy, particularly the registration number, is indispensable to avoid being mistakenly reported by the police.
How will uninsured vehicles be detected?
Initially, it will happen when drivers are stopped by a member of the police or the gendarmes, or when automatic speed cameras detect vehicles exceeding the speed limit.
Eventually, the automatic number plate recognition cameras that the police are equipped with will also be able to detect uninsured vehicles, as will other control systems such as traffic light cameras.
Do people really drive without insurance?
Some 700,000 people are currently driving without insurance, according to figures from the French road safety watchdog the Observatoire interministériel de la sécurité routière.
What are the risks?
Driving without insurance is an offence. The basic penalty is a fine of between €400 and €5,000 depending on the circumstances. This may be accompanied by further penalties such as suspending or revoking the driver's licence, barring the driver from applying for a new licence, or clamping or permanently seizing the vehicle.
Sources: French government services and information website (www.service-public.fr); French Interior Ministry