Newfoundland talks new system to find uninsured drivers

Published: December 19, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Newfoundland is attempting to root out uninsured drivers and has implemented a new system that better tracks uninsured’s. The new system will include an option where license plates stay with owners.

However, officials admit such a solution would not entirely fix the problem and is not going to solve the ongoing challenge of downgrading high auto insurance premiums in the province.

“The government is evaluating the feasibility of reconfiguring the Motor Registration Division’s computer system for this purpose,” Service NL recently told the CBC.

“Service NL has received feedback from the St. John’s Taxi Alliance and the general public advocating for a plate-to-owner model of motor vehicle registration,” a government spokesperson told CBC. “This issue exists in many jurisdictions, including in provinces where the plate-to-owner model is currently in use.

“While advocates for this model have stated that it would reduce the number of drivers operating motor vehicles without a driver’s license, registration and/or insurance, this issue exists in many jurisdictions, including in provinces where the plate-to-owner model is currently in use.

“This suggests that a multi-faceted approach may be necessary to achieve the desired result.”

In September, Newfoundland and Labrador said it will conduct an auto insurance review in a bid to stop escalating premiums. The province has the most expensive car insurance premiums in Atlantic Canada and companies will need to raise premiums to keep pace. While premiums are rising, claims are relatively low in the region.

Some companies may pull out of the province entirely, which would leave fewer choices, warns Dean. She suggests looking to neighbours in the Atlantic Canada regions. In Nova Scotia, drivers pay around $300 less on average for their auto insurance coverage.