§ Mrs. Curtis-Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the numbers of drivers(a) driving without a full licence and (b) driving without adequate insurance; and what plans he has to reduce these numbers. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
In 1997 there were 130,500 prosecutions for driving without a licence, 46,000 for driving while disqualified and 48,500 for failing to produce a driving licence. This suggests that in any one year 225,000 people or approximately 0.8 per cent. of drivers are detected driving while unlicensed. We intend, when a suitable legislative opportunity occurs, to introduce legislation to empower police services to have 441W direct access, in defined circumstances, to the driver licensing database so that offences can be more readily detected at the roadside.
It is estimated that between 4 per cent. and 6 per cent. of motorists drive while uninsured, an offence for which 310,500 people were prosecuted during 1997. Plans for a motor insurance database have been drawn up by the insurance industry with the support of my Department. Once implemented, police will be able to check insurance details at the roadside.