Warwickshire Police is supporting a national campaign to protect road users from uninsured drivers
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Warwickshire Police is supporting the national ‘Operation Drive Insured’ campaign aimed at reducing the numbers of uninsured drivers using the county’s roads.
During a week of enforcement action, officers will be conducting an enhanced policing operation aimed at detecting and seizing uninsured vehicles across the county.
The operation coincides with a public awareness campaign starting on 26 October coordinated by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) and partners, to help highlight the issue of uninsured driving.
Each year in the UK over 130 people are killed and 26,000 are left injured in collisions caused by uninsured and untraced drivers, linking them to nearly one in every five road traffic collisions. This equates to one casualty every 20 minutes.
In Warwickshire, in 2018/19 officers issued 990 Traffic Offence Reports for the use of a motor vehicle on a road/ public place without third party insurance. 86% of TORs issued for no insurance were to men (in line with national findings), whilst most offenders male or female, were aged between 24-31 years old.
Whilst statistics tell us that uninsured drivers cause more collisions, there is another consequence - higher premiums for other drivers.
MIB paid out £322 million in compensation in 2019 to victims of uninsured and untraced drivers, from funding provided by insurers and ultimately their consumers. The cost of compensating the victims of uninsured drivers is added on to your car insurance premiums, making them more expensive than they should be.
But that’s not all, figures from the Department for Transport indicate these collisions cost the wider economy a further £2 billion a year in the cost of providing emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity and property damage.
Looking at these facts, it is hard to understand why someone would choose to drive without insurance but it may not be a surprise that uninsured drivers are often linked to wider road crime.
Whilst there are criminals who knowingly drive a car without insurance or who withhold information or lie to get a cheaper quote, some insurance offences are committed unwittingly.
To drive a car both you and the vehicle must have the correct insurance. This means that even if you are insured to drive any car, the vehicle needs to be covered in its own right.
Warwickshire Police is also warning motorists about ‘Ghost Brokers’. A Ghost Broker is a fraudster who poses as an insurance provider to target people who struggle financially with unrealistically cheap fraudulent insurance deals on social media.
To check if a vehicle is showing as insured on the MID, drivers can look for free at www.askmid.com.
Also please remember during COVID it may be tempting not to insure or tax a vehicle if you are not using it. However when you take a vehicle ‘off the road’ which means not keeping or using it on a public road you need to make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Once SORN, you can store the vehicle ‘off the road’ in a garage, on a drive or on private land for example.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “Each year police forces collectively seize over 130,000 uninsured vehicles (one every four minutes). In Warwickshire in 2018/19 1587 uninsured vehicles were seized. These numbers are shocking especially when you consider that you can’t tax your car without having insurance in place so this is not the only offence being committed.
"This week of action is really important to protect the majority of law abiding drivers using our roads in Warwickshire. Driving without insurance is not a victimless crime. Uninsured drivers are significantly more likely to cause a death or injury on the road and are also often involved in wider road crime.
“Warwickshire Police is urging all drivers to respect other road users and drive insured. Protecting the public and keeping our roads safe for everyone is our priority and removing uninsured drivers from our roads helps to do that. “
Uninsured drivers can have their vehicle seized and potentially crushed along with a £300 fixed penalty notice and six licence points. They can also face court and receive a driving ban and an unlimited fine. In Warwickshire in 2018/19, 995 uninsured vehicles were disposed of by crushing or selling.
Uninsured driving convictions also show on basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks which can impact employment prospects.
If you know someone who is driving uninsured, please report them to the police on 101 the non emergency number or report anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #OpDriveInsured.