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Auto Insurance News: Big Brother Is Watching UK Drivers

Drones, surveillance cameras, satellites and tracking devices are nothing new. Yet, many motorists hate the idea that the government could be using these tools to spy on its own citizens. That is exactly what’s happening in the UK right now.

The Plan

This spring, the British Government announced a proposal to use a license recognition program on the cameras to cross-reference the plates with a list of drivers who have auto insurance and updated registration documents in order. Anyone found driving without these two things would be unable to pump gas and local authorities would be alerted. The idea is: if they can’t get gas, they can’t drive!

The Problem

There are 1.4 million drivers — 1 in 25 — who do not have any auto insurance, says The Mirror. While authorities believe this is one of the worst records in the world, the US has them beat. USA Today reported that, in 2009, 14 percent of US drivers — 1 in 7 — are uninsured. Furthermore, places like Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and New Mexico have over 20 percent of their populations driving without any protection.

The Backlash

So far, ideas have been proposed in America, but there has been significant backlash. Mary Catherine Roper of the ACLU says she is “fairly creeped out” by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s idea to have highway cameras identify uninsured drivers to be fined. She explains, “We’re always skeptical when the government sets up yet another system of monitoring people who have done nothing wrong. How do I know that information isn’t going to be shared with other agencies? How do I know that information isn’t going to be used for other purposes?”

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