The family of a teenager, who suffered a brain injury after being hit by an uninsured driver, has welcomed a new law which makes it illegal to own a vehicle without insurance.

The law, which comes into force on Monday, June 20, 2011, means people can be fined for no insurance without actually driving a vehicle.

There are an estimated 1.4m motorists without insurance but until now they are only prosecuted after they have been caught driving.

The new offence, which is contained in the Road Safety Act 2006 prepared by the previous government, will allow motorists to be prosecuted for owning a vehicle without insurance. Letters will be sent to drivers and if they do nothing they face a £100 fine followed by court action.

Uninsured vehicles could be clamped, seized and destroyed

If the vehicle remains uninsured it could then be clamped, seized and destroyed, or they could face a £1000 fine.

The news comes as a relief for the family of 18-year-old James Hall who came off his Kawasaki 85 when he was hit by an uninsured rider. James fractured his skull and suffered a major head injury.

The fact that the other adult rider involved had no insurance led to an almost eight year fight by James and his family to get compensation.

James’ mum Fiona said: “We know first hand how difficult it can be to claim compensation from an uninsured driver. James’ claim took many years, during a time when the money would have helped with his recovery. Anything which forces people to think twice about taking a risk and driving without insurance must be welcomed.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau

Motocross enthusiast James was practising for a competition by riding laps at Cambois beach near Blyth in September 2003 when an uninsured driver drove across his path leaving him with a serious brain injury, broken pelvis and collarbone, having to have an eight-inch plate in his leg and on a life support machine for five days.

After taking over conduct of the case from his previous solicitors, his lawyers Thompsons Solicitors were able to successfully settle James’ claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and James and his family finally received a substantial sum in compensation. The MIB is the insurer of last resort and responsible for paying out in cases where drivers have no insurance or the driver is untraced.

According to the Motor Insurers' Bureau, every year 160 people are killed and 23,000 injured by uninsured drivers.

Paul Brown from Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle said: “Unfortunately many people such as James are seriously injured by uninsured drivers every year, with victims often left needing a lifetime of care and rehabilitation to help them. Whilst James has made a good recovery from the serious brain injuries he sustained not everyone is so lucky.

“We represent many innocent victims of uninsured drivers in their battles for justice. This new system will hopefully be more pro-active making sure uninsured drivers are caught before they are involved in an accident.”