Continuous cover for all motorised vehicles

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Exempt from the requirements of the Road Traffic Act or any EU insurance requirements.

Author: Philip Strickland
Published:
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Some time ago, we reported on the unhappy development within the EU of a concept of a need for continuous insurance cover on all motorised devices, whether used on the public highway or on private ground.

It stemmed from the bizarre case of a certain Mr Vnuk, who was injured when a tractor trailer was reversed into his ladder inside a barn, leading to his injury. Until this incident it was accepted that certain vehicles, such as farm tractors used only in fields and farm yards, pure racing cars or motorbikes, Go-carts, motorised trolleys, etc were exempt from the requirements of the Road Traffic Act or any EU insurance requirements.  Following this case, the EU issued a new Motor Insurance Directive to be applied to anything motorised, whether used in the garden, in the yard or your front room! It specified that full RTA liability would apply to such machinery, including the need for proper insurance cover for third party risks.

In an instant, this directive created the farcical situation where any collision on a race track, a grass track or go-cart track would be treated as a road traffic offence and the proponent made liable to prosecution for an act of criminality. It would also mean that no vehicle could in future be used without adequate insurance cover. Those addicts of Grand Prix racing or Moto GP will have wondered if a normal Sunday race  would fill the prisons on Monday with Grand Prix drivers and world champion motor cyclists because of their daring deeds the day before!
Unusually for the EU, however, common sense seems to have prevailed, for the Parliamentary committee who created the Directive accepted this week, an amendment tabled by UK MEP Dan Dalton, to exempt motorsport from the ambit of the proposed legislation. It may also exclude use on private land. While this amendment has to be ratified by the full EU Parliament, it does appear now probable that the threat to our love of motorised sport or a need for continuous cover of devices not normally thought to require separate cover, has been lifted. It is not clear whether Segways, motorised trolleys and the like will also be exempt. Perhaps if they all were to be raced, they would be!

Philip Strickland

Legal Advisor

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