By Kieran O’Mahony
A CENTRAL database of all insured and uninsured drivers could help gardaí combat the escalating problem of uninsured drivers, a recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in Cork County Hall was told.
Cllr Daithí Ó Donnabháin (FF) raised a motion calling for the government to enact immediate legislation to compel insurance companies to give details of all insured and uninsured drivers to a central road traffic database, which could then be used by gardaí to detect uninsured drivers.
‘Some drivers have a habit of paying just the first quarter of their insurance premiums and continuing to display the disc. Yet if insurance companies were compelled to update their database and tell when policies are cancelled, then gardaí could be notified. We need legislation on this,’ he told the meeting.
However, while Chief Supt of Cork West division, Con Cadogan, concurred with the proposals, he said that there would be issues over data protection and that a change in legislation would be needed for gardaí to access that information. ‘The overarching problem is the Data Protection Act and we should write to the government and ask for amendments to be made. I know that it’s on the agenda at a national level too,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
Chief Supt of Cork City division, Barry McPolin, also agreed that the information would be of great benefit to gardaí.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said that all insured drivers are paying for the increasing injury claims due to uninsured drivers. ‘What about full State insurance for every driver? And then no one goes without insurance and it would be comforting for people knowing that everyone has insurance,’ said Cllr Murphy, who also acknowledged that insurance companies would most likely object to such a proposal. Cllr Ó Donnbháin said he didn’t think the State had the capacity to enact such an option.