Most of the United States now require that you insure your vehicle before you can register it. Enforcement, however, varies considerably. As we learned recently, in New York state, you can be arrested for driving an uninsured vehicle if you incur a moving violation in it that would otherwise net you just a traffic ticket.
But it's a lot tougher elsewhere. In the UK, cars without insurance are seized by the police.
As the BBC tells us, "Drivers have two weeks to obtain the documents and reclaim their vehicles or they will be permanently confiscated. High value cars are supposed to be auctioned off, with the money pumped back into policing."
With recession biting in the United Kingdom as badly as it has here, the number of uninsured cars collected each month has soared from 200 to as much as 1,500, according to A1 Group owner Sally Pike. Her firm crushes every car taken off the streets of London by the Metropolitan Police.
If the car "has no serial number, is foreign registered or was involved in a sensitive crime," it doesn't exist within the registration system and must be crushed. No appeals.
Thus, Pike's firm has crushed Hummers, Porsches, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and a BMW 3-Series. Britain's Automobile Association (the equivalent to the AAA in the States) even reports that a Bentley and a Range-Rover have been destroyed.
But just to be clear, this has nothing to do with the US Cash-For-Clunkers program. That program destroys only engines, and it's unlikely that even the worst Bentley or Range Rover would have a used-car value of $4,500 or less.
It's more a kind of existential question: Would you crush a Bentley? Could you? (No matter how heinous the paint job was?)
2009 Bentley Continental GTEnlarge Photo