WE are fast approaching a date in the calendar which I am anticipating with dread: the annual renewal of my vehicle insurance.

I know I’m not alone. Several of my friends, most of them “senior citizens”, share my fears. Others, who have already received the amended premium information, are walking around in a catatonic state, as if suffering from trench warfare shell shock.

None, I should add, have made a claim in the past 12 months. Some haven’t travelled that route for aeons, since they were involved in chariot races in the Coliseum. So why are they, and I, plus countless others, looking at another hefty increase in our premiums?

Everyone must surely know the answer. We, who grimace, protest but pay up, are footing the bill for those who don’t, and also underwriting the cost of vehicle crime, which includes the appalling crash-for-cash scam, vandalism or theft.

Add to that the expense of hiring replacement vehicles for drivers whose own car or van, for whatever reason, is taken off the road to be repaired, and you will soon conclude that insurance companies will seek to recover their outlay from mugs they’ve been squeezing for years. That’s you and me, folks.

Rarely a day goes by without this newspaper reporting court cases of drivers being caught without the relevant documents, particularly insurance. The fines they incur are a joke, in many cases a fraction of what they would have had to fork out to drive legitimately.

Small wonder then that more and more are choosing to swerve costly and irritating necessities, like driving licence, road tax and insurance. If they crash, and a lot do, they can always get out of the vehicle and leg it, circumstances allowing, or think up some excuse while awaiting the medics.

When I first drove a car, 53 years ago, the insurance wasn’t prohibitive. Nowadays, a young person will be quoted figures well in excess of what they may have paid for their vehicle, so some elect to drive without insurance.

That kind of risk-taking isn’t confined to the young, but it’s a constant worry for those of us who may bump into an uninsured driver, literally, at some point. The resultant insurance claims and settlements are one of the main reasons premiums are going stratospheric.

What is the answer? Well, we could start with an automatic ban, financial reparation for the victim, and recovery through court action of what the insurance premium would have cost had it been paid.

Failing that, a jail sentence. After all, an uninsured driver is a ticking bomb and, currently, there enough of them on our roads to start World War Three.