More than 300 disqualified drivers have been caught behind the wheel so far this year despite being banned by the Northamptonshire courts.
This has prompted Northamptonshire Police’s Roads Policing Team to launch a new campaign aimed at discouraging newly disqualified drivers from being tempted to ignore the court order and continue to drive.
To help drive the message home, anyone who has had their driving licence revoked as part of their sentence will receive a postcard from the Force to raise awareness of the consequences of breaching the disqualification.
Penalties can include a prison sentence of up to five years, a criminal record that will last for up to 80 years and substantial fines. However, in the longer-term it could also affect careers, finances, ability to get insurance and the freedom to travel outside the UK.
Inspector Ian Wills of the Roads Policing Team said: “Disqualified drivers can have their licence revoked for a range of offences. However, what they do have in common is that the standard of their driving has put themselves and other road users at risk.
“We see the devastating effects of those who have a total disregard for the sanctions imposed by the courts and continue to get behind the wheel after being disqualified. Their actions not only show a contempt for the authorities but are also selfish, dangerous, and irresponsible.
“The postcards are designed to ensure newly disqualified drivers are aware of the seriousness of their conviction. The loss of their licence may cause them an inconvenience but if they choose to continue to drive, the severity of the consequences could be life changing.”
Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads remains a priority for Northamptonshire Police and our partners at the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, and everyone has a part to play.
Inspector Wills added: “In addition to the postcards, we are appealing to the public to help make our roads safer by providing us with any information about disqualified drivers who are continuing to drive.
“We are keen to know the names of those committing these offences, what vehicles they are using, where and when they are using them. The more information we have the more we can target our efforts to catch them and remove them from our roads.”
To coincide with the launch of this initiative, the Force will be supporting the annual national Operation Drive Insured campaign which aims to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the UK’s roads.
From today (Monday, November 20), the Safer Roads and Roads Policing Teams, supported by colleagues from the wider Force, are backing the week-long initiative to detect and seize uninsured vehicles that are using the road network illegally and irresponsibly.
Developed by MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau) in partnership with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence, and Investigations (NRPOII) committee, the week of action is an annual date in the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) road safety calendar.
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. Some are also caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
One reason for this is that unlike insured drivers, those who are uninsured aren’t motivated to display safer behaviour and meet the basic legal requirements designed to keep policy costs down.
Figures from MIB show that in 2022 there were more than 42,000 claims from victims who were injured by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver across the UK. This not only costs the UK economy about £2 billion a year but also has a huge physical and emotional impact on those involved.
Inspector Wills added: “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.
“We witness far too often, the devastation a road collision has on those involved, their families and the wider communities but when this also involves an uninsured driver, there is also the financial costs associated with it.
“By using ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) technology available in Force, we are able to identify not only disqualified drivers but those who are also uninsured and deny them access to our roads.”
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.
Members of the public are encouraged to check that their vehicle is appearing as insured on the MID for free at www.askmid.com or to contact their insurer for support.