Uninsured drivers remain one of the biggest problems for motorhome insurance providers in the UK, but new information gleaned from a survey by the Halifax shows that more motorists than anyone can have possibly imagined are prepared to drive without adequate cover.
According to the report 10% of those questioned say they can’t afford proper insurance cover and neither can they afford to be without their vehicle. The result is that one in ten of UK motorists admit they have taken a chance and driven without insurance. No wonder then that approximately 23,000 people were injured in accidents involving uninsured drivers and that the bill for these accidents amounts to something in the region of £380 million. It is remarkable that so many people living in a “civilised” and bureaucratic country are quite prepared to break the law in such a way and risk such awful consequences… but hold on. When it comes to driving a vehicle that might be unsafe we can double the number of people prepared to risk this to one in five. Yes according to the report 20% of drivers would be prepared to invalidate any motorhome insurance they held by driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate.
Despite the fact there is a £1000 fine for the offence and the chance of killing themselves or someone else because their vehicle may be unsafe, millions of motorists are prepared to forego a test that costs less than £2 a week. Three quarters of those who admitted to driving a vehicle without a valid MOT said they had just forgotten to take their vehicle for a re-test, but half admitted they did not think they would get caught anyway.
Undoubtedly cost was a major reason for many motorists being so indifferent to the laws of the land but the report demonstrates what a huge job the Government and insurance providers have got in bringing down the cost of insurance for those prepared to pay for it.
With the clocks now turned back and the advent of winter on its way, motorhome insurance providers will be in full agreement with motor repair specialists Kwik-Fit that now is the time for motorhome owners to check their vehicle lights on a regular basis.
Research commissioned by the well known motor repairers shows that when it comes to vehicle lights, many drivers remain in the dark. The study shows that over a third of drivers, approximately over 12 million drivers have suffered at least one blown bulb in the last 12 months. Unfortunately the survey also discovered a similar amount of motorists don’t check their lights from one year to the next, and so rely on others to tell them when a lamp has blown. Further questioning revealed that 23% were eventually told by friends, 8% by other drivers and 3% remained ignorant until a police officer pulled them over and gave them a ticket.
Interestingly enough the drivers that do recognise they have a bulb malfunction usually discover it by seeing their cars reflection whilst driving. Although only 17% said it was the way they realised they were breaking the law, it was still the most common reason and beat those that recognised the fact by their dashboard warning system who numbered 14%. Another 13% realised they had a problem through reduced vision when driving at night.
It is a fact that more and more motorists tend to leave the upkeep of their vehicles to the garages who carry out servicing and MOTs, and although it would be unfair to tar mobile home owners with the same brush, as a nation we appear to be becoming more lazy in the upkeep of our vehicles. Simple checking procedures on tyres, brakes and lamps are no guarantee you will avoid an accident but they will certainly go some way to improve you and your passengers safety.
The safety of VW campervan conversions will come under the microscope this week and it is something that will be of interest to all motorhome insurance providers. A Government Minister meets with campaigners who believe laws to improve the safety inside campervans and motorhomes could be improved, and the outcome could have far reaching effects.
David Bebb is concerned about the safety aspect of campervan conversions and feels a new law recently introduced to improve safety has a date loophole that will enable conversion companies to by-pass the new requirements. He has brought the issue to the attention of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and has discussed the problem with the National Caravan Club. This week he will go a step further and in the company of his local MP Daniel Kawczynski (Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham) he will meet Transport Minister Mike Penning to articulate his fears.
Bebb says many campervan conversions have seat bed systems that have no seat belts and are an obvious safety issue if the van is involved in an accident. The new regulations don’t apply to vans registered before April 1st and this he believes is a big problem. He said “Around 100 vehicles per week get converted in the UK and I estimate that only about five per cent comply with the new standards that were introduced on April 1.” He has spent the last 18 months perfecting his own seat bed system which has a four –piece bracing kit that secures the bed to the vehicle body. The quick release Rock n Roll seat bed also has two seat belts and iso-fix points for two children’s seats, the new seat can be rapidly converted into a bed and a quick release system allows it to be removed from the vehicle completely when not required.
Bebb and the Minister are sure to discuss recent changes to legislation by the EU that will drastically alter the regulations around motorhome and campervan conversions. The new regulations could make considerable differences to owners getting vehicle reclassification approval from the DVLA.
Despite promises that summer is due to arrive in the United Kingdom shortly, many motorhome owners are still deciding to head to the warmer climes of France in July and August.
However, driving abroad brings with it many new dangers, and research has shown that one in three drivers will knowingly take risks with the law which they would not do when driving on the roads of the UK. The research also revealed that many mobile home owners have a worrying lack of knowledge when it comes to driving on foreign roads and will also inadvertently break the law. Just under a third (32%) were much less worried about flouting speed restrictions in France, but thankfully 96% take a dimmer view on drink driving while on holiday in France. The results point to a combination of inexperience and disregard for the laws of driving abroad which is a recipe for disaster for British drivers. Motorhome insurance providers are quite rightly shocked to see so many drivers willing to take risks that they wouldn’t take in the UK.
While a driving holiday on the other side of the English Channel may seem an attractive proposition, there are certain rules and regulations that motorhome owners need to know before hopping across the water to France. For instance, from July 1st, every driver must be equipped with a breathalyser kit that contains two devices which are up to the standard set by the country. Brits also need to be aware of the drink driving laws as France’s alcohol level is much lower than the United Kingdom with it standing at 50mg per 100ml of blood, a level that Scotland will be matching in the coming months. Always carry an accident report form somewhere in the vehicle just in case there is an accident. The form is not obligatory, but it makes any legal proceedings or insurance payments a lot quicker.
The list of required items seems to get bigger each year but for a long time now UK drivers in France must display a GB plate and have their headlights adjusted to the right. The vehicle must be equipped with a warning triangle and a luminous safety vest must be kept inside the motorhome. Finally it is important to remember to drive on the right-hand side of the road. If there are two drivers it is a good idea to agree to remind each other during the journey and when swapping over after a break.