Protection for road accident victims under new rules

protection for road accident victims
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The Internal Market Committee of the European Commission has agreed to amend rules governing motor insurance to better protect victims of road accidents.

The proposed update, aimed at closing current loopholes and improving the focus of the Motor Insurance Directive, covers five main areas:

  • Guaranteeing compensation for road accident victims in the event of insurer bankruptcy;
  • Setting minimum levels of insurance cover;
  • Checks on vehicle insurance conducted by Member States;
  • The use of claims history statements by new insurers; and
  • The general scope of the directive.

Protection for road accident victims will cover people who are hurt in accidents caused by residents of other EU Member States and those who are in accidents in Member States in which they are not resident. Meanwhile victims of accidents caused by a vehicle whose insurer has become insolvent will be reimbursed by national compensation bodies within six months of their claim. The amended rules permit cross-border vehicle insurance checks in order to combat uninsured driving offences.

The directive excludes electric bicycles, electric scooters and Segways, due to a combination of their small size meaning they are less likely to cause injurious or fatal traffic accidents and the reluctance of MEPs to discourage uptake of safe electric vehicles. Vehicles exclusively intended for motorsports are also excluded, as they are subject to separate licensing and insurance rules.

Rapporteur Dita Charanzová said: “Today, we found a good balance between greater protection for victims of accidents and preventing absurd overregulation. Motor insurance should not be required for anything with wheels and a motor, like kids’ toys or e-bikes. This would only increase premiums for owners and slow down the uptake of alternative vehicles. I am happy e-bikes are excluded. We have also created a fund to ensure that everyone is compensated for an accident, even if an insurance company goes bankrupt, and stepped up enforcement against uninsured vehicles. Member States can now check vehicles for insurance with scanners. Citizens’ privacy will still be protected; however, since all data is to be immediately deleted when a car is shown to have insurance. This is a win for safer roads.”

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