CCTV cameras at filling stations across the country are to be used to stop uninsured and untaxed vehicles from refueling, under proposed government plans.
The cameras will work through the current Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system fitted to most filling station forecourts across the country – a system currently aimed at catching fuel thieves.
Under the new plans, drivers will only be able to begin refuelling once the camera has registered their car’s number plate and cross-referenced it against the insurance and road tax database.
If a number plate returns an error, or is flagged up on the central system as uninsured or untaxed, the driver will be prevented from refuelling the vehicle. Downing Street officials are hoping the technology will help curb the 1.4 million uninsured vehicles on the road.
One in 25 drivers in the UK do not have insurance, and according to recent figures, around 160 people are killed and 23,000 injured by untraceable drivers every year.
Forcing people to tax and insure their vehicles in order to refuel – the only hard factor that would stop cars being driven illegally – will see these numbers drastically reduced, according to the plans.
Government representatives are to meet with fuel companies in the coming weeks to consider the idea. However, initial responses from some fuel retailers are that the new plans are a step too far.
Prohibiting people refuelling, especially those who flout the law, could create more crime, with people potentially turning on fuel station attendants, according to Retail Motor Industry Petrol (the body that represents UK fuel sellers)
RMIF Chairman, Brian Madderson, commented: “Staff are already getting stick from motorists for high fuel prices. This proposal will increase the potential for conflict. Our cashiers are not law enforcers.”