About two weeks ago, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia suggested in a speech that the UK does not have a motor insurance database.
Bawumia made the claim when narrating a story about how UK Police had towed a Lamborghini because they could not ascertain its insurance status, adding that Ghana was ahead of the UK with regards to motor insurance database.
Dr Bawumia made the claim while delivering a speech at the launch of two new high-level information technology programmes at the Accra Business School in Accra on July 14. Below is a transcript of what he said in his speech:
“Just this week, in the UK, someone driving a Lamborgini was stopped and the police officer was not able to tell if this vehicle was insured. So, they had to tow the vehicle. It came in the news. They couldn’t establish whether the vehicle had been insured.
“Now they need to come and implement the Motor Insurance Database, for they could have just used their phone to find out whether the vehicle was insured or not. So, we are ahead of many advanced countries in this area. We are ahead.”
Fact-Check Ghana has verified, the Vice President’s claim and concludes that it is false.
UK has a Motor Insurance Database
The UK has a motor insurance database managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). On its website, the MIB says the information is available to the police, other enforcement agencies and the vehicle licensing agency.
“The MID is the central record of all insured vehicles in the UK. It is managed by the MIB and is used by the Police and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to enforce motor insurance laws,” the MIB says.
“MIB shares the information on the database with the information held at the DVLA to identify uninsured vehicles under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme. Enforcement agencies and the police also use the MID to tackle uninsured driving. They have the power to remove uninsured vehicles from UK roads,” it adds.
Further checks by Fact-Check Ghana showed that the UK’s Motor Insurers’ Bureau has a platform called askMID where even the general public can verify the validity of the insurance policy of their vehicles from the motor insurance database.
Augustine Gyapong, a Ghanaian who has lived in the UK for over a decade, told Fact-Check Ghana his experience about how the police use the motor insurance database.
“The police can stop you and then check the database to see whether you have insurance. They basically call someone in one of the contact centres and ask them to run a check on the database and confirm whether you are insured or not,” he said.
He further added that “sometimes, the police vehicles are equipped with cameras which can automatically scan your number plate and run the checks automatically and if it turns out you are not insured, you will hear the alarm. They will stop you and the law will take its course”.
Thus, contrary to Dr Bawumia’s claim, the UK has a working motor insurance database.
The inaccuracy in Bawumia’s claim about the Lamborgini
On July 11, UK Police towed a Lamborghini Aventador, reportedly worth about £270,000, driving through central Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. They suspected it of being uninsured as the driver couldn’t prove its insurance.
Indeed, the car was towed because the police couldn’t verify whether it was insured or not. However, this is not because the UK does not have a motor insurance database as Vice-President Bawumia sought to imply. The car was towed because it didn’t have a number plate for the police to run a check from and since the driver couldn’t prove its insurance, they took it off the road.
The police tweeted about it. The BBC produced a report on the tweet.
Police ? spotted this beautiful Lamborghini Aventador driving in CMK without a front number plate. Enquiries showed the driver could not prove he had insurance. Therefore the vehicle was #seized #S165 and driver reported. PS1136 pic.twitter.com/gzO9ji7sni
— TVP Milton Keynes (@tvp_mk) July 9, 2022
In conclusion, the UK has a motor insurance database, contrary to the Veep’s claim. Also, the UK police could not ascertain the insurance validity of the Lamborgini because the car did not have a registration number; and not because the UK does not have a motor insurance database.