Hollywood actress Drew Barrymore has become the latest victim of one of the biggest problems facing motorists all over the world today – the uninsured driver.
The 33-year-old got into a bump earlier this week while driving around her home city of Los Angeles.
However, instead of simply exchanging insurance details with the other driver, the actress was forced to adopt the feisty persona of her Charlie’s Angels character and give chase as he drove off without stopping to inspect the damage he had done, a common trait of a driver who knows they risk a hefty fine for getting behind the wheel without the necessary cover.
According to Sergeant Kristin Aloma of the West Hollywood, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the star managed to follow the offending vehicle long enough to jot down its registration number and hand this over to the relevant authorities, though she warned that such a reaction to a hit and run, however understandable , "could be dangerous".
Of course, some observers may say that a bended fender is hardly likely to matter to the likes of Barrymore and certainly not to the extent of putting themselves at risk by following or confronting another unknown driver.
But while, since rising to fame as a child actor in E.T The Extra Terrestrial she has gone onto to command millions of dollars per movie, she can afford to buy a new car every day of the year, this is besides the point as most ordinary drivers cannot and it is they who bear the true financial cost of people hitting the road without an adequate policy in place.
Simply put, uninsured drivers are bad news all round
Late last year the Motor Insurers’ Bureau found that uninsured drivers are ten times more likely to have a drink driving conviction than uninsured drivers.
Furthermore, they are six times more likely to be driving an unsafe vehicle, while around 160 deaths a year occur on the roads as a result of uninsured driving.
Commenting on the situation currently facing the UK, Graeme Trudgill, technical director and corporate affairs at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), noted: "Two million people currently drive without insurance and it’s a massive problem.
"BIBA is working with the government to find a way to prevent that because it costs the innocent motorist over £400 million per year.
"Everyone that has car insurance is paying £30 to a levy for the victims of uninsured drivers and we want to reduce that. We want to prevent dangerous uninsured drivers and there will be a new enforcement agency next year which BIBA has been working with the government on."
Until the strict new legislation comes into place, however, the typical, law-abiding motorist is having to bear the brunt of the law-breaking few, making it even more important to shop around for the best car insurance deals.
Finding a good car insurance deal is hardly a Mission Impossible
Indeed, it seems unbelievable that, with research from the AA showing that the average car insurance premium has increased in price by six per cent over the past year to £682, still a separate study by MoneyExpert.com was able to find that 28 per cent of drivers stick with their existing insurers even when they put their rates up.
As Mr Trudgill advises, consumers should not just accept price hikes "on the chin", but should instead be proactive and take a few hours off to research the market, something that is all too easy to do since the dawn of the internet.
"We do see problems when people just go to one insurer on the internet, perhaps a brand name or a popular name, they buy that and stay with it and their premium goes up year after year," he explained.
"What we advise then is: don’t just stick with it. If you’re just staying with the same insurer every year then they will increase and increase [your premiums]. Some insurers might be putting up their rates by six per cent but others won’t be and there’s always a chance that someone else around the corner will have a better deal for you."
Though the curse of uninsured drivers hit average Brits and Hollywood stars just the same, it is consumers who are being their own worst enemies by failing to look for the best insurance deal, particularly in an economic climate where even a few pounds could make a significant difference to a household budget.