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From today (Monday, October 26), officers from Northamptonshire Police will be getting behind a national campaign which aims to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the UK’s roads.
The Safer Roads and Road Crime Teams, supported by colleagues from the wider Force, will be backing the week-long initiative as part of Northamptonshire Police’s road safety campaign – Operation Journey.
Operation Drive Insured will see an increase in roads policing activity across the county in a bid to detect and seize uninsured vehicles using Northamptonshire’s road network.
Developed by MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau) in partnership with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigations (NRPOII) committee, the week of action has become an annual date in the road safety calendar.
Figures from MIB show uninsured and untraced drivers cause nearly one in every five road collisions and each year in the UK, more than 130 people are killed and 26,000 are left injured as a result.
One contributing factor behind the concerning rate of road collisions caused by uninsured drivers is unlike insured drivers, offenders aren’t motivated to display safer behaviour and meet the basic legal requirements designed to keep policy costs down.
Evidence from MIB shows drivers without insurance are more likely to commit a ‘hit and run’ and be involved in other crimes, be it using a stolen vehicle, driving while disqualified or without a valid driving licence. A number are also caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
MIB, which is funded by insurers and ultimately consumers to provide financial support to victims of uninsured and untraced collisions, paid out £322 million in compensation in 2019.
While figures from the Department for Transport indicate these collisions cost the UK economy a further £2 billion a year in emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity, and property damage.
PC Dave Lee of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads is a priority for the Force, and removing uninsured drivers from our roads helps to do just that.
“Using ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) technology available in Force, we will be carrying out a combination of mobile and static road checks, throughout Operation Drive Insured.
“Many people will see uninsured driving as a victimless crime at best, or as only impacting on the profits of large insurance companies at worst, but this is not the case.
“However, we witness far too often, the devastation a road collision has on those involved, their families and the wider communities. However, when this involves an uninsured driver, there is also the financial costs associated with it.”
The number of claims for compensation from victims of uninsured drivers have fallen 26 per cent since 2016. However, with so many people suffering financial hardship due to the disruption of Covid-19, there are growing concerns this could result in more people breaking the law and driving without insurance.
Anna Fleming, Chief Operating Officer at MIB, said: “We’ve made great strides in getting more people to drive insured in recent years, but the sad reality is with Covid-19 putting so many people under financial strain, uninsured driving levels could creep up.
“Everyone suffers the consequences of uninsured driving. We’re fully committed to our partnership with the police so we can get as many people as possible to drive insured to make roads safer and fairer for everyone.”
Last year 137,410 vehicles were seized for no insurance in the UK, which equated to one seizure every four minutes. While in Northamptonshire, since the launch of Operation Journey on October 5, 85 offences have been detected and 26 vehicles seized.
Police can access the Motor Insurance Database, which is a central record of all live motor insurance policies, to check if a vehicle appears to be uninsured. If disputed by the driver, MIB can liaise with insurers to confirm if valid insurance exists.
Drivers without insurance face their vehicle being seized and potentially crushed, along with a £300 fixed penalty notice and six licence points. They can also be referred to court and face an unlimited fine and a driving ban.
Uninsured convictions also show on basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks which can impact employment prospects.
To check if a vehicle is showing as insured on the MID, drivers can look for free at www.askmid.com.