Britain’s police forces have launched a national targeted crackdown on uninsured drivers in a week-long offensive on law breakers.
All 45 forces are taking part in ‘Operation Drive Insured’ from 15 to 21 November, a campaign developed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and NPCC’s National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigations, to clamp down on the high volume of uninsured motorists.
MIB data revealed that, so far this year, more than 100,000 uninsured drivers have had their vehicle seized, as records show that someone is injured by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver every 20 minutes in the UK.
In addition to causing more collisions, records show uninsured drivers often commit wider road crimes, the bureau says.
UK police forces are executing Op Drive Insured this week to crackdown on uninsured drivers
Uninsured driving is a problem that exists across all corners of the UK, with the worst-affected areas found in Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Greater London.
MIB said it requires around £400million each year to compensate victims and help them rebuild their lives.
Using government figures on the average value of prevention, it also estimates that collisions caused by uninsured and hit-and-run drivers could cost the economy nearly £2billion a year in emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity and property damage.
In response, the week-long campaign will see an increase in road policing to detect and seize vehicles that are not covered.
During the week of action, police officers will access MIB’s Motor Insurance Database – a central record of live UK motor insurance policies – to see if motorists’ licence plates show their vehicle as insured.
If the validity of insurance is disputed by the driver, MIB will liaise in real-time with the insurer in question to confirm if the vehicle has valid insurance.
Uninsured drivers will likely have their vehicle seized, and potentially crushed, receive a £300 fixed penalty notice and six licence points.
They could also face court and receive an unlimited fine and/or a driving ban. A criminal record can also affect job prospects.
Ben Fletcher, Chief Customer Officer at MIB, said: ‘Put simply, uninsured motorists are very dangerous. They cause a worryingly high level of collisions and are frequently involved in wider crime.
‘By using MIB’s Motor Insurance Database police can easily see if a vehicle appears to have no insurance and will take swift action to remove the threat. Op Drive Insured serves as an important reminder that no one is above the law and illegal motorists will be caught.’
Police officers will access database to see if motorists’ licence plates show their car as insured
Jo Shiner, Chief Constable at Sussex Police, added: ‘Police officers take action against the users of uninsured vehicles every day, this national week of action really highlights how we work with all of our partners to take these vehicles off the road and prosecute offenders.
‘We know those who are unwilling to insure their vehicles present more risk to other road users than those who do insure their vehicles. We have sophisticated systems to help identify offenders and we will use all of our powers to take appropriate action against offenders and make our roads safer.’
Crackdown comes during Road Safety Week 2021
The sting on uninsured motorists is taking place during Road Safety Week 2021, which also kicked off today.
The event, created by road safety charity Brake, aims to raise awareness about road safety, encouraging everyone to take action to prevent casualties and make roads safer.
This week’s event comes as MPs prepare to debate about tougher sentences for hit and run drivers who cause death, which is taking place in the Houses of Parliament today.
Currently, the maximum penalty for causing death by careless or dangerous driving is a custodial sentence of 5 to 14 years but this falls to 5 to 10 points and a six-month sentence for drivers failing to stop after a fatal collision.
A petition has called for a wider definition of ‘death by dangerous driving’ and says it should include failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.
Mary Williams OBE, Brake’s chief executive, said: ‘On the first day of National Road Safety Week, it is no coincidence this important debate is happening in Parliament, and no surprise the petition that preceded it has had so many signatures.
‘There are an estimated 100 or more cases of hit and runs every day across the UK and those that result in deaths or serious injuries cause untold heartache to families, and also to the emergency services who can’t get there in time to provide vital emergency care and save lives.
‘Penalties for such appalling behaviour should be tough, making it clear to all drivers involved in crashes that it is vital to stay, call the emergency services, and help as much as possible.’
It will be debated in Parliament if there should be tougher sentences for hit & run drivers
Insurance do’s and do not’s for drivers
• Do check that your vehicle is appearing as insured on the Motor Insurance Database for free.
• Do not withhold key information when buying insurance to save money. This is fraud – the consequences are serious, and it will invalidate the insurance policy.
• Do only use your vehicle for the agreed purposes of its insurance cover. If unsure what your policy covers, speak to your insurer.
• Do not buy car insurance on social media, or through an unfamiliar source. It’s probably a fake car insurance scam called Ghost Broking.
• Do find out when your policy expires and if it auto-renews, so you can ensure it doesn’t run out without your knowledge.
• Do not use a personal E-scooter on public roads and spaces. Only local authority-operated trial E-scooters are covered for third party use.