Gardaí to target uninsured drivers with instant roadside 'scan'

A database of uninsured vehicles is being compiled with the system due to be rolled out this year

Gardaí to target uninsured drivers with instant roadside 'scan'

Photocall file photo

Gardaí will soon be able to use handheld devices to scan vehicles and check if they are insured.

The Irish Independent reports that the new system could be up and running by the end of the year.

The devices will be linked to the new national database which was recommended by the Government's Cost of Insurance Motor Working Group in early 2017.

The group was set up to tackle the spiralling cost of motor insurance.

Gardaí will be provided with access to a database of uninsured vehicles as well as hand-held number plate recognition devices - potentially bringing an end to the current system where disks are displayed on windscreens.

Experts believe there are around 150,000 uninsured drivers on the road – and the clamp down is aimed at cutting premiums by reducing the number of pay-outs for accidents involving the uninsured.

Moya Murdoch, CEO of the Road Safety Authority said it is welcome news.

“There is generally a small cohort of people out there who are serial offenders in a number of areas of road traffic legislation,” she said.

“I think this is a very welcome move and I hope that An Garda Síochána get the correct and appropriate resourcing for it and that the funding and resources are there to give all gardaí a hand-held device to do this.”

The seventh progress report from the working group said the first phase of the plan should be complete by the end of the year.

It said insurance companies have been providing gardaí with lists of insured and uninsured vehicles which are being loaded on to the Garda automatic number plate recognition system.

Initial testing of the system has been completed and it is hoped it will be rolled out by the end of the year.