‘Don’t leave uninsured vehicles in public areas’

VEHICLE OWNERS are being prosecuted for leaving their uninsured machines in areas the public have access to, even if they are not driving or riding them.

Inspector Karl Zierlinger of Guernsey Police (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29587926)
Inspector Karl Zierlinger of Guernsey Police (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29587926)

Inspector Karl Zierlinger said some were falling foul of the law simply because they had not realised they were breaking it in the first place.

‘Some people assume that if a vehicle is not being driven, or cannot be driven, they can leave it in areas where the public have access but that is not the case,’ he said.

The penalties for the offence are severe – including a minimum one-year driving ban – and the courts have no discretion when administering the law.

‘If vehicles are not being used or have broken down we suggest people remove them to a private area such as a driveway,’ said Inspector Zierlinger.

Pub or shop car parks and housing estates are not suitable because they are areas to which the public has access.

In a recent Magistrate’s Court sitting, Judge Graeme McKerrell said the message did not seem to be getting through that uninsured vehicles cannot be left in places where the public have access.

People were coming before the court on a weekly basis for committing the offence of using a motor vehicle without insurance in this way.

Inspector Zierlinger said some questioned the word ‘using’ in the charge, but it had a wide definition in terms of the law and included parking a vehicle.

‘The law makes sense in that if someone suffers injury resulting from a parked vehicle it is important that they are able to claim compensation,’ he said.

‘They can make claims through the civil court, but that can be far more problematic and time-consuming.’

Some people drive on the roads without insurance, but that is more deliberate, while others are getting caught under the same law for unknowingly offending.

Some who come before the court say they could not afford insurance. They were in a difficult position financially and had not prioritised it.

‘Some say they have no money, but having your driving licence suspended for 12 months will have a huge impact on many

people and in some cases cost them their job,’ said Inspector Zierlinger.

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