A few weeks ago a judge in Britain was criticised by the media for imposing what many people considered was a lenient sentence on a failed asylum-seeker who killed a young boy while driving without a licence an uninsured and untaxed car which had no MoT inspection certificate. As often happens in such cases, the judge was limited by law in the severity of the sentence he imposed but, to his credit, he has recently commented publicly on the frustration he felt at the fact that anyone could drive a car in such circumstances that it should never have been allowed on the roads.

The case may ring a few bells here in Spain. Although the systems for the renewal of licences and for the annual technical inspection are remarkably efficient there appears to be a gap when it comes to insurance. Even in those uncomfortable moments when one is pulled over to the roadside, saluted and asked for one's documents, the proof of insurance does not seem to be of great concern. Nor is it asked for when one is renewing a licence or at the inspection facility.

Why is this so? The shock of discovering that the driver who has just run into the back of your car, causing expensive and time-consuming damage, does not have even third-party coverage is considerable. Would it not be a sensible and relatively simple administrative improvement if proof of having appropriate insurance cover were required before one's car is given a new year's lease of life by the inspection unit? The little badge certifying that the inspection has been passed would then also serve as proof that the car is properly covered?