THE Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has launched a new National Fleet Database (NFD) that will contain the insurance details and licence plate numbers for all commercial fleet and motor trade vehicles on Irish roads.

The information on the database will be used to help the Gardaí identify uninsured vehicles through their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system. Approximately 8% of the vehicles on Irish roads are ‘fleet vehicles’, associated with commercial fleets or motor trade. Many fleet operators use flexible insurance policies which facilitate the transfer of insurance from vehicle to vehicle depending on their needs.

Under the terms outlined in the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021, it will be mandatory for all fleet operators to identify all the registration numbers for vehicles within their fleets and to ensure they are added to or removed from the National Fleet Database within a period of 14 days. The updated NFD details will be continually checked by the Gardaí as part of the ongoing operation of the ANPR system.

If the NFD is checked by the Gardaí and a vehicle is not listed in the database, at best the driver will have to provide proof of insurance at a Garda Station within 10 working days; at worst, their vehicle could be impounded and the driver could be facing prosecution for driving without insurance.

This risk will continue until the vehicle registration has been uploaded to the NFD and it could cause serious business interruption if a vehicle is impounded. For example, this could result in a serious delay for a haulage company in making a delivery, meeting a deadline, or even missing a ferry crossing.

The new requirements in the Road Traffic Act will also have teeth as fleet owners and motor traders who do not provide the registration numbers for their vehicles will commit an offence, and will be liable to a Class C fine of up to €2,500 on summary conviction in the District Court.

Collection of data for fleet vehicles will help build on the success of the ‘Motor Third Party Liability’ (MTPL) database which was launched three years ago to store policy details for private motor vehicles. The MTPL database is updated on a nightly basis by all motor insurers. It currently contains insurance policy information