Mike Penning pulls another blinder

Motor insurers could be given access to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency records, Mike Penning, the road safety minister, has told MPs.

Do we really need a minister for road safety anyway? I think not, and that's why he's trying to justify his existence by turning car insurance into the Spanish Inquisition.

Appearing before the Transport Select Committee, Mr Penning said the Government was looking at giving insurers greater access to motorists’ driving record.

And why would that be?
Maybe it's because people are lying to insurance companies about their driving history. Maybe insurance companies are looking for every little excuse to increase premiums and some people are omitting certain details as a result. Being a monopoly industry, they can pretty much charge what they like.

Because of data protection laws, a driver’s consent would be required before the DVLA opens its records to insurance companies.
They would be free to decline insurance to a driver who was not prepared to allow insurers to obtain information on any previous motoring convictions.

That is not consent under the data protection laws. That's forced acceptance. Insurance companies would simply include a tick box with every policy application asking for access to DVLA records. Anyone who declines will be refused insurance. They will then be automatically breaking the law.

Some people will lie on their insurance forms. If they claim, the insurance company will refuse to pay out, but only if they discover the duplicity.

Some may then argue that this step is correct to prevent people lying on their applications. It isn't.

The insurance companies have no business being given access to the DLVA database. What information will they see?

Will they see all the cars that I have owned in the past?
Will they see the road tax fines that I have not paid?
Will they see convictions from years ago that are no longer the business of insurers?
What about address history? There is a lot of info about me on that database, most of it nothing to do with car insurers. In fact, most of it has nothing to do with the DVLA.

At most they should ask for a copy of your driving licence. It contains all the information that is relevant to an insurer.

Getting car insurance is already complicated enough, as explained by Longrider.

And what would be the "next logical step"?
Your occupation can change the price of your insurance by quite a large degree. The insurer could ask for a letter from your boss confirming your job role, but that wouldn't tell them if you have a part time job in a bar. Bar work hikes up premiums.

Next logical step? Access to your inland revenue records.


In a separate move learner drivers could be allowed on motorways, Mr Penning told the Committee.
He said he is examining ways of ensuring that novice motorists are capable of handling fast motorway traffic. One option under consideration would be to allow them onto these roads under supervision from a qualified instructor ahead of taking the test.

Very good. Now there's the possibility of being stuck behind a learner on the motorway ;-)

Would it not be better to take motorway lessons after they pass their tests?


An alternative would be compulsory motorway training for newly licenced drivers.

No, no, no! I didn't say compulsory! Are the driving instructors living in your arse along with the insurers?


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