Millionth car seized in uninsured drivers crackdown


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The Independent Online

Police today seized the one millionth uninsured car to be caught in a crackdown that began in 2005.

The milestone was revealed by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) which today relaunched its uninsured driver campaign in Birmingham.

Since 2005, when police were given powers to stop vehicles identified as being driven without insurance, an average of 500 vehicles have been seized each day. Of those, an estimated 30 per cent are crushed.

The milestone was welcomed by the AA which said it underlined the progress being made by police and the MIB in the fight against uninsured drivers.

AA Insurance director Simon Douglas said: “A million cars seized is great news, yet there are still an estimated 1.2 million vehicles on Britain's roads being driven without cover. That's around one out of every 25.

”The MIB, which provides compensation to innocent victims involved in collisions with uninsured drivers and drivers who fail to stop, is doing great work with the police and community leaders to get through to persistent offenders.

“But we are still a long way from cleaning up Britain's roads. In uninsured driver hot-spots such as parts of Birmingham, innocent motorists are eight times more likely than average to be hit by an uninsured vehicle.”

He added that West Midlands Police alone were seizing, on average, one uninsured vehicle per hour.

Police identify them with automatic number plate recognition technology which compares registration numbers against data provided by the motor insurance database operated by the MIB.

Mr Douglas added: “Every year, uninsured drivers kill 160 and injure 23,000 innocent people. What's more, the cost of the work carried out by the MIB adds around £33 to every honestly bought car insurance policy. It is not a victimless crime.”

Mr Douglas said the penalties meted out by the courts to uninsured drivers are too lenient.

He added: “Honest young drivers may have to pay £3,000 or more for their first car insurance policy, a figure that has been pushed up by uninsured drivers, yet the average fine for driving without cover is only about £200. Many go on to reoffend.

”Most are young men often with a string of motoring and other offences behind them and may not have a driving licence. Their cars are frequently poorly maintained, have no MoT or tax and are driven with little regard for traffic laws."

James Dalton, head of motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said: "Reducing the menace of uninsured driving remains a priority for insurers. As well as being a danger on the roads, the cost of crashes caused by uninsured drivers pushes up the insurance premiums of honest motorists.

"Today's announcement that the police have seized their one millionth uninsured vehicle shows what can be achieved when the Government and industry work together to crack down on the unnecessary costs facing all motorists."