Don't forget compulsory car insurance, says traffic authority

To participate in traffic, drivers in Latvia must have valid compulsory civil vehicle insurance (OCTA). Drivers often forget to renew it, and this can result in large fines. Latvian Television consulted insurance experts on how to avoid paying hefty amounts over a simple mistake.

The recently introduced average speed control cameras register not only the speed of cars at a certain stretch of road but also whether an OCTA policy and roadworthiness check are valid. The data show that it is the absence of OCTA that is the most frequent offense, followed by speeding and then a lack of roadworthiness check.

Chairman of the Board of Latvian Vehicle Insurers' Bureau (LTAB) Jānis Abāšins said: "Speed camera – €350. If you get caught by the police without OCTA then that penalty may be less. But the speed camera automatically has €350 for one offense. If you go down one radar stretch five times a day and you don't have OCTA then €350 is applied five times."

The imposition of a fine is only one of the risks for driving without an OCTA.

"If you have caused a road accident, it's even more expensive. The average reward is €1,700-1,800 per accident. But there are also accidents where rewards are in the tens and hundreds of thousands of euros. Victims receive this reward from the OCTA system Guarantee Fund, but then this Guarantee Fund goes with a claim to the person who hasn't purchased OCTA,” Abāšins said.

The Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) explained how everyone can make sure that the policy and roadworthiness deadline is not forgotten - the "E-CSDD" account has the option to set reminders to one's email address a week before the roadworthiness test, driving license or OCTA is due to expire.

This information used to come automatically to the owner and driver of the car, but it does not anymore.

CSDD spokesman Mārtiņš Mālmeisters said. "With all the rule changes that come with data protection, customers have been asked to log into their e-CSDD profile and make sure these reminders have been set. It's a convenient way to control yourself a little bit, and in today's rapid pace of life, there may be a time when one of these things can be forgotten."

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