Louth has proportionally more claims made against uninsured drivers than any other county in Ireland, according to data supplied to RTÉ Investigates by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), the insurance body that compensates victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured drivers.

There were 736 claims made (per 100,000 people) from 2010-17 in Louth, the highest rate for any county during that time. Dublin was second highest, on 609 claims, followed by Limerick, on 592.

Longford was next highest, with 491 claims made per 100,000 people. (As the population of Longford is only around 40,000 people, the actual number is 196 claims made from 2010-17.)

The dataset, which has not been previously released, is based on where the alleged accidents that gave rise to the claims took place.

Kilkenny had the lowest number, with just 160 claims (per 100,000 people), while Roscommon was second lowest, on 211.

Since 2010, the total number of claims against uninsured drivers has increased steadily, from 2,232 in 2010, to 2,758 in 2017, a jump of almost 24%. The number of private cars in the country also increased during that period, but only by 8%, according to Central Statistics Office data.

David Fitzgerald, the CEO of MIBI, said: "Our analysis has allowed us to discern increased claim levels in certain parts of the country, which go beyond purely geographical factors such as urbanisation.

On a statistical level, some areas do seem to attract a higher than average number of uninsured and untraced claims and have a higher per capita level of claims."

According to a strategy document it published last year, MIBI estimates that approximately one in eight claims it handles constitute "claims fraud."

"Some of these fraudulent claims are made in the belief that it is easier for insurance providers to just settle the claim," the document said. "Such an approach is short-sighted. It does not consider that a settlement culture only encourages further fraudulent activity."

From 2010 to 2017, MIBI handled a total of around 19,700 claims, meaning that by its estimate almost 2,500 claims over that period were fraudulent.

While the strategy document noted that giving false information relating to a claim is punishable by up to 10 years in jail, in fact, prosecutions for this offence are very rare.

A striking feature about the MIBI data is that the counties at the top of the list – Louth, Dublin, Limerick and Longford – also received a disproportionally higher number of awards at the Injuries Board.

Similarly, some of the counties that had very few claims against uninsured drivers, such as Kilkenny, Roscommon and Mayo – also had well below average personal injury awards at the Board.

Click here to see graphics and maps we created on personal injury in Ireland, including data related to claims against uninsured drivers.