There has been an 85% increase in the number of uninsured drivers on Irish roads compared to this time five years ago.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland, which deals with accidents involving drivers without cover, said there are now more than 150,000 vehicles on the road without a valid policy.

The MIBI says the numbers of uninsured vehicles on Irish roads have increased from just over 82,000 five years ago to 151,000 at the end of this year.

The figures are calculated by comparing the number of registered vehicles to those which have insurance.

They show that one in every 14 private vehicles on Irish roads is now uninsured. The bureau says the rising cost of motor insurance is a factor.

It warns that drivers face major penalties if they do not hold a valid insurance policy.

These include having their cars seized on the spot, an automatic court appearance, five penalty points and a significant fine if they are caught driving without insurance.

It is also warning that it will pursue uninsured drivers through the courts for cash or assets to cover costs arising from road crashes.

It says close to €1 million has been recovered by the bureau so far this year.

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