Thursday, 18 October 2007

Big Brother and your car

Every day in the UK 55,000,000 car numberplates are scanned and checked for road tax and insurance.

Every year 40,000 cars found not to have insurance are crushed. As these are mostly of the old banger variety the car stock is being improved by this cull, with the likely, but not proven ,benefits of fewer accidents. Perhaps it could be proved by checking insurance records to see if the number of accidents involving uninsured drivers has decreased over the 6 years since the Motor Insurance Database was set up to meet the requirements of the EU 4th Directive that in event of an accident involving a foreign national the insurer of the car could be immediately indentified.

The Motor Insurance Database has been a hugely successful IT project, carried out, not by the usual suspects - such as IBM or Siemens, but by a team assembled initially by the ABI, one of whom, Penny Coombs, was in charge of their motor insurance division. It required a huge effort by insurers and fleet owners to meet the reporting requirements of the database and because it didn't massively overrun its budget or fail to produce the goods it has vanished from the public's ken.

If it hadn't been created , in an age of international terrorism it would probably have had to have been and then we would have had the MOD creating the specifications. Not a pretty thought.

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