UK Crackdown On The Uninsured


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ON 30/12/05
OF 2005

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after midday

11th November, 2005

In the UK, tough new enforcement action to crackdown on uninsured drivers has been unveiled by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling. From yesterday, police forces across the UK can use automatic number plate recognition cameras to spot and ultimately seize and destroy cars being driven without insurance.

The cameras are linked to a database which contains details of all vehicles registered in the UK which are believed to be uninsured. The Transport Secretary saw West Midlands police in action as they began the crackdown.

Alistair Darling said:

"Today we are sending out a very clear message to those who drive without insurance - there is now no place to hide.

"The new powers to link up cameras and the insurance database will make it far easier for police to tell if passing cars are uninsured and take action against the driver.

"On top of these powers we are creating a new offence of keeping a vehicle without insurance. This will be enforced through a new database of insurance details which means that uninsured drivers don't even need to be on the road to be caught."

"It is estimated that every law-abiding motorist pays an extra Ł30 a year because of uninsured drivers. Drivers are rightly fed-up with those who flout the law and we are determined to rid the roads of this small hardcore of anti-social drivers."

Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police said, yesterday:

"The police service and the government are constantly striving to make our roads as safe as possible for all road users. Evidence indicates that up to 10% of vehicles on our roads are being used illegally and many of these will be people who drive with no insurance. We know that people who don't insure their vehicles, or indeed drive with no licence or test certificate are more likely to be involved in other criminal activity, and in collisions. Collisions in which people may be killed or seriously injured."

"The Operation that we are carrying out today will root out those motorists who do not comply with the law by insuring their vehicles. The law exists to protect all of us and we will not tolerate the minority of drivers who flout the law showing no respect or concern for their fellow drivers. If you drive without insurance, expect to be caught and brought to justice."

The new UK offence of keeping a vehicle without insurance, announced by the Government in September, will mean that uninsured drivers can be caught before they even take to the road.

Earlier this year the government gave the police new powers, to seize and ultimately dispose of any vehicle being found driven uninsured.


1. There are an estimated 2 million vehicles being driven uninsured on Britain's roads.

2. Once a vehicle suspected of being driven in the UK without insurance has been stopped by a police officer it can be seized and removed from the road. The driver will be required to bring proof of insurance to a police station. If the driver still cannot produce insurance details then he/she will be prosecuted for driving without insurance. Drivers have fourteen days to reclaim their vehicle. After this time, the police are able to dispose of the vehicle.

3. The new regulations being taken up by the police from 10/11/05 are "The Disclosure of Vehicle Insurance Regulations 2005 - SI 2005/2833", and were made under powers provided in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

4. New proposals, tabled as amendments to the Road Safety Bill in September 2005, will make it an offence to be the keeper of a vehicle, the use of which is not insured. This would apply to vehicles that were not declared as being off the road through a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) and were not insured. Additionally the proposals will:

* Provide for a new fixed penalty for people who ignore reminders that their insurance has expired.

* Issue automatic reminders to those motorists who fail to insure their vehicle when their previous insurance expires.

5. Underpinning these provisions is a wider set of actions which are being developed with stakeholders:

* Concerted action by insurance companies to continue to improve accuracy and timeliness of updates to the Motor Insurance Database.

* Ensuring that insurance documents make the expiry date of an insurance policy clear and unambiguous so that no one is in any doubt when their insurance expires.

* Ensuring that the Courts make best use of the sentencing powers and penalties available to them.

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