Getting scum off the roads .

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MB Club Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
Not always
I posted this as a response to another thread last night , but it struck me as such a simple idea that I'm amazed it hasn't been done already .

Having had two cars written off by uninsured drivers ( when they were parked outside my house and I wasn't even in them ) , the scum who just drive around without insurance/VED/MOT are pretty much top of my list of pet hates .

Since most petrol stations now have ANPR cameras that record vehicle details before dispensing fuel ( and , I thnk , refer to a local 'hit list' of numbers reported for fuel theft already ) would it not be a good idea to tie them into the national databases so that they check for MOT/INS/VED and do not dispense fuel if any vehicle shows up as not having any of the three in place ?

Now , I know some people might come up with objections such as 'how will I get fuel for my lawnmower ?' , or 'what if I run out of petrol and need to fill up a fuel can ?' ........ well - for the first scenario - if you turn up in a legal car your numberplate will be read and you will still be able to fill up a jerrycan ; in the second case ; the system could be set up so that an operator could have a manual override which would allow no more than 5L to be dispensed without ANPR clearance .

The vast majority of fuel sites now have self-service pumps with ANPR cameras , and internet connectivity for credit/debit card authorisation - so all the infrastructure is there already . All it would take would be to get the major fuel companies/supermarket chains , who operate the majority of sites , 'on side' and this could be done pretty quickly . While there would possibly be a very small number of independent sites in most areas who might not have the equipment and might not join in - the cops would soon get to know these were where the offenders now had to go for fuel in their area and thus could keep a watchful eye around those sites : win-win situation ! Regarding concerns about data protection - staff on the fuel sites need not have access to any vehicle data - it would simply be a case of fuel purchases either being 'authorised' or 'not authorised' .

If the scum found it impossible to fuel their illegal cars it would get rid of a lot of problems almost overnight .

What does everyone think ?
I know of at least one major motorway services group that wanted to do this. They saw it as a wat to reduce drive off's. Police said no. I think it's they who have to be on-side. I would suspect it would require principal legislation as an enabler.
I agree that a change in legislation may be required - however , retailers already have the right to refuse to serve any 'customers' as they see fit - so I think it is more of a data protection issue than anything else .

I'd have thought it would be a 'given' that the police would be 'on-side' with something like this .

I'll write to my Chief Constable and my MP re this one tonight .
Concept is great, you will however get a lot of bleating about "Big Brother". Also the police are already in a lot of hot water over things like the anti terror CCTV systems being put in muslim areas etc. So not sure what their stance on this would be..
A filing station close to me has 'ANPR' installed and it's always clearly in your face as you walk in and pay. However, I can't help feeling it's all a big con, as the pictures never match what's on the forecourt.
Anything which makes life harder for these cretins to drive illegally is worth it , IMHO .

The idea is not so far removed from stores being required to ask for proof of age when selling certain products such as alcohol or cigarettes - highly volatile fuel is no less dangerous a substance , and we have a golden opportunity with the technology available to take decisions out of the hands of store staff .
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Perfectly sound in theory, but as the ANPR database has been found by the NAO to be inaccurate in up to 30% of cases, this would be a great way of bringing the country to a halt.
I think it's a good idea, in principal. However, if there are a lot of these scumbags driving around without insurance and or tax. Then from the petrol stations point of view, they would be loosing money, by not selling them petrol. They only care that their petrol is paid for, they do not care if the driver is uninsured, or has not tax, as long as he pays for his petrol and his cigarettes, ginsters pasty etc. That is the world of big business, they do not care one iota what is morally right, they just care about maximum profit.

Also, it occurs to me that if this scheme was brought in tomorrow, then petrol stations without the ANPR system, would be where the scumbags flock to for petrol. Making those stations a chav hell for the rest of us.

I agree, of course, with your sentiments and do feel strongly that un-insurred drivers need to be removed from the roads and punished. I just don't think this is the way to best achieve that aim.
That is why it would need to be a matter of legislation - taking the decision away from retailers - it would force most offenders to either get road-legal or get off the roads .

The vast majority of sites (even quite small independent ones) now have ANPR , as this now protects retailers from drive-offs , the small numbers who do not would be encouraged to become so equipped , but , in any case , the police would know which stations the illegals now had to fuel at in their area and would be able to monitor them .

Anything that makes life harder for the criminal elements is right in my book .
How about insurance companies paying for ANPR alerting kit to be fitted to normal motorists cars that sends alerts only to police/dvla? Insurance company should also discount the motorists insurance or pay commission for every scumbag caught without insurance.
I love the idea, providing that records are kept up to date.
I was caught speeding about 18 months ago, and the NIP was sent to the previous owners address 6 times. never forwarded to me (as the previosu owners house was now empty), not that he could have done anything anyway as it was sold to a dealer. . etc etc . .I have owned the car for 18 months prior to this defence and I got away with it due to incorrect police records.
Also to tie the system into overseas plates (as they would use them to to get around the law), or recently introduced private plates . .not withstanding cars on the way to MOT testing (which if out of date is still legal to drive to and from the place of test) . .would cause a lot of potential congestion at forecourts or unjust treatment on the driver.
In the case of the latter points when the driver has not been at fault, but is embarressed by the "only 5 litres" authority (if given) is in the eyes of the law too much of a risk of a breach of your civil rights. You could then sue the "record holders" for stress etc, and as such from my knowledge would make the system a potential cash cow for people changing plates, cars etc and sue the powers to be.
Nice idea and I agree with Pontoneer, but it is too full of "issues" . .

Now I would like to suggest, that anyone "caught" with no insurance does 1 hour of community service for every £1 of damage done (failure to comply they go to jail). If over 800 hours tot, 6 months in jail. If repeat offenders, 12 months in the Army at special dention centres . . all rights withdrawn. Failing that . . remove sky tv, booze and fags. Sorted! (last few points in jest)

In all seriousness and I do understand the issue. Just not sure for the reasons above it would work . . but if they could sort out these points. . then yeah, bring it on :eek:)
Won't work, to get around it would be childsplay.

You'd see an enormous increase in cloned cars, making the work of the police infinitely more difficult & also a huge increase of petrol theft from cars.

I'd be one of those bleating about Big Brother! Do you really want private companies having access to the same databases as the Police? Presumably if you are OK with this type of enforcement you'd have no problem with BP, Shell, Texaco et al refusing to sell you petrol if you are recorded doing 75 on a motorway. Slippery slope, loss of privacy & civil liberties, too much State intrusion & all that.

Law breakers have always been around & will always be around, it's one of those things that is pretty much constant & will not change. If you are really het up about the issue I'd suggest a dialogue with your Chief Constable about what more they could do using existing laws would bear more fruit.
The insurance companies could perhaps help by setting up a fund to help owners of smaller filling stations to put in the neccessary equipment - if it gets uninsured drivers off the roads it will save the insurers ( and all of us ) a great deal of money in the long run .

I , myself , have lost out three times at the hands of uninsured drivers - two instances where cars parked outside my house were hit (and written off) by uninsured drivers , and one head-on crash where I was hit by a drunk , unlicensed , uninsured driver who came round a bend on my side of the road driving a stolen car .
I like the idea, although as always it would need to be thought through.

AFAIK, most if not all the ANPR systems currently installed at fuel stations only record vehicles arriving at (and maybe leaving) the site. It would probably take considerable investment to extend this so that the cameras were tied to individual pumps, otherwise how would you know which ones to disable.

Also, what becomes of the people refused fuel? Will a refusal alert the police to attend the site? If so, that would be a good cue for the motorist to abscond sharply, assuming they still have some fuel left; and if they didn't, how would the fuel retailers feel about having their forecourts clogged up with stranded ne'er do wells? Could this also lead to staff being intimidated to override the system, especially late at night or in remote areas?

The really determined ones would no doubt find a way around this, perhaps by refuelling one legal car within the household then syphoning off the fuel in to several others, while others would just resort to using plates from an identical legitimate car to fool the system. After all, these are criminals we're talking about...
Neil , I had thought of the cloned car problem , and also petrol thefts . While you will never stop the hardened criminals who will stop at nothing to break the law , I think this would still stop a great many offenders .

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who drive illegally are just people who chance it because they think they will get away with it because their car needs work they cannot afford for the MOT or they can't afford insurance/VED , but would not go to the length of cloning cars or stealing fuel .
I like the idea, although as always it would need to be thought through.

I fully agree - I only thought of it in the early hours of this morning .
I certainly think that the financial penalties for driving without insurance should be increased dramatically. The insurance companies are always claiming that our premiums are going up because of those who have accidents whilst un-insured. So, if the fines were much much higher and some of that money went to cover the cost of un-insured driver accidents, then that would be a greater deterrent and reduce premiums for the rest of us. Those who say they cannot pay the fines, should have their vehicles taken and sold as well as other property.

If your idea was made law, then there are quite a few retailers near me, who would need to install the ANPR system. As you could not say, the law is, those who do not have it installed, do not need to take part in the scheme. The other retailers, would soon just turn their system off and say its broken, so they can still sell their petrol to chavs.

As has already been said the database is quite probably not very accurate, judging, by the last governments utter incompetance with anything database or IT related. If the ANPR DB is most likely pap, the scheme could be a nightmare to launch properly, it is just not feasible at this time.

Also, this could put people in danger. For instance, a woman on her own driving late at night, pulls into petrol station to get fuel. Database wrongly refuses fuel, leaving lady stranded at night.

as i've said before, I fully agree with your sentiments, but this idea will not work at this time and if it was law, it would frankly cause huge problems for us all.
Mocas - yes , I think auto alerting police would be a good idea - even if it simply prompted the police to call round at the registered keeper's address , armed with video evidence that the illegal car had been seen out and about - in absence of a good explanation ( attending pre-booked MOT ) or proof database was wrong - car could be seized .
Perfectly sound idea...

but... the MID (motor insurance database) is far from perfect.

For example, whenever I buy a car, I get short term insurance to go with it. This is usually around 7 days. This does not show up in the MID, and I need to carry a printed copy of the insurance certificate in case police stop me.

Secondly, this would be a logistical nightmare - with clogged forecourts, policemen called to tow empty cars and whatnot.

I saw an article yesterday that announced the newest speed cameras... these will include MOT, Insurance and Road tax checks... along with seatbelts, and some other fancy stuff... they are even experimenting with thread-depth measuring!


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