Police forces around the UK have launched a week-long crackdown on uninsured drivers, putting particular focus on key areas with the highest offending rates.
As part of Op Drive Insured, officers will be stepping up checks and enforcement activity on motorists using their vehicles without the proper cover, including issues fines and seizing vehicles. Drivers caught without insurance face a minimum fine of £300 and risk having their cars crushed.
It is estimated that every 20 minutes a driver is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, with one person per day suffering injuries so severe that they require life-long care. According to insurance compensation body the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions and are more likely to be involved in wider vehicle crime.
As part of the operation, running from 21-27 November, the MIB is working with the NPCC’s National Roads Policing Operations to support spot checks on drivers. Paul Farley, law enforcement manager at MIB, said: “Put simply, uninsured drivers are dangerous. They cause a much higher rate of collisions, and they’re often linked to wider road crime including hit-and-run crashes.
“It’s sadly become an all-too-common experience to hear on the news that yet another person’s life has been cut short after being hit by an illegal motorist. We’re working day and night with our police partners to put an end to this. We hope Op Drive Insured sends a clear message that no one is above the law and those who choose to drive without insurance will not get away with it.”
While the operation is a UK-wide initiative, extra attention is being directed at the hot spots for uninsured driving, based on claims figures from the MIB. Its data shows that Birmingham has by far the biggest problem, with seven of the 10 worst postcode areas in and around the city. The B6, B8, B9, B10, B11, B18 and B21 postcodes all feature in the list of areas with the highest levels of uninsured driving, along with Purfleet (RM19), Smethwick (B66) and Manchester (M8).
Simon Foster, police and crime commissioner at West Midlands Police, which covers the Birmingham and Smethwick postcodes, said: “Many people, like me, will be deeply concerned about the number of deliberately uninsured drivers in the West Midlands. These people are reckless, thoughtless and have no regard for others. Rest assured, West Midlands Police will deal with those people that do not feel the law applies to them, robustly, so as to ensure they are held to account for their actions.”
Uninsured drivers are thought to cost other motorists a collective £500 million per year in extra premium costs to cover their actions. The MIB also estimates that injuries caused by uninsured and hit-and-run drivers potentially cost the economy nearly £2.2 billion a year in emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity and human costs. Last year, the MIB paid out compensation to more than 26,000 victims of uninsured and untraced drivers.
The standard punishment for driving without insurance is a £300 fine and six penalty points but if the case goes to court offenders can face an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving. Police also have the power to seize any uninsured vehicle and so far this year have confiscated more than 100,000. Around a third of these have since been crushed.