A load of Vnuk
The DfT have recently published a paper on the options for amending the law in light of this case.
What’s it all about?
Well first off Road Traffic Legislation (depending on which part you’re looking at) will refer to either a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ or a ‘motor vehicle’.
A mechanically propelled vehicle is ‘a vehicle that is constructed so that it can be propelled mechanically’ and a “motor vehicle” is a “mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on the road’ – Got all that?
Historically in the UK if you were driving a ‘motor vehicle on a road’ you needed ‘third party’ insurance.
Then in 2000 to harmonise insurance law across the EU “other public place‘ was added to the end.
This is why members of the public shouldn’t be teaching their children in supermarket car parks on Sunday mornings any more, which I’ve discussed in another post.
In the Vnuk case, heard in the European Court of Justice in 2014 , a Slovenian Mr Vnuk was knocked off a ladder by a trailer attached to a tractor in a barn. (sounds somewhat Chaplinesque to me but still)
The Court ruled that the vehicle should have been insured on the basis that the Directive requires compulsory insurance cover in respect of any use of a vehicle that is consistent with its normal function.
The ruling now means in effect, that driving a mechanically propelled vehicle pretty much anywhere, regardless of if it’s private property or public access needs third party insurance.
In fact the consultation document itself states:
“Vehicle means any motor vehicle intended for travel on land and propelled by mechanical power, but not running on rails, and any trailer, whether coupled or not coupled;”
Some of the vehicles which could be brought within scope of the Motor Insurance Directive by virtue of the Vnuk judgment are electrically assisted pedal cycles, construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles,segways, ride-on lawnmowers, motor sports vehicles, mobility scooters,golf buggies, motorised ride-on children’s toys, fairground rides (e.g.dodgems), fork lift trucks, dumper trucks, engineering plant and quad bikes (off-road construction).
What will this mean?
Certainly the end of off road sessions on private land, unless you have insurance. (ADI insurance tends to cover this anyway – I think mine covers from ages 14 upwards but you need to check your own) , so some events across the country where parents bring their own vehicles to a closed off area and teach their children in their own cars are affected, but its not just that, its a massive expansion of the insurance remit.
Just from the list above – Fork Lift truck in a warehouse – insurance needed, mobility scooter – now needs insurance – etc etc
The cost of vehicle insurance is likely to increase, to cover the setup costs, or as a result of the proposed option to meet the requirements by extending the MIB remit.
Finally this isn’t some future proposal that might not happen. As a result of the court ruling, its law across the EU now! – The UK domestic legislation is non-compliant and they’re trying to determine the best way to amend the legislation, but if you were involved in similar circumstances, you would be found liable at least until we leave the EU.