Uninsured drivers targeted in police action

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THIS week police forces across Scotland are taking part in three days of action to target those who drive without suitable insurance.

The campaign runs from Tuesday April 3 and concludes on Friday April 6, 2012.

Chief Superintendent Stevie Mackay from Northern Constabulary, who is currently the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland lead for coordinating activity to deny criminals the use of Scotland’s roads said: “Uninsured drivers are a danger on our roads. They have no respect for other road users and our experience has shown that they are more likely to be involved in other types of criminal activity.

“During this week of action we will be targeting those who disregard the law and when they are traced we can seize their vehicle. Officers will be using marked and unmarked vehicles equipped with the most up to date technology including Automatic Number Plate Recognition System which can highlight those driving without insurance.

“We are committed to ensuring that Scotland’s roads are as safe as possible for all road users.”

Statistics show that in the UK, uninsured drivers are responsible for around 160 fatalities and 23,000 injuries to road users every year.

The estimated annual cost to the economy is £500 million, which includes every legitimate and law abiding motorist having to pay around an extra £30 per annum on to their car insurance premium.

The seriousness of the offence is reflected in the level of the maximum fine of £5000, and the automatic endorsement of an offender’s licence with six to eight penalty points.

The courts can also order the immediate disqualification of the offender. Driving without insurance will result in the driver being issued with a £200 endorsable conditional offer of fixed penalty and six penalty points on their licence.

The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that is being driven uninsured. Any vehicle seized under these powers will only be released on payment of the fixed penalty and presentation of a valid insurance certificate.

It is also an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than drive without insurance. Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) requires the Registered Keeper of a vehicle to insure a vehicle at all times unless the vehicle has a valid Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).

The DVLA is responsible for enforcing this new process which involves records being continually compared with the Motor Insurance Database to identify those vehicles which are being kept without insurance.

A contravention of the CIE regulation can result in an initial fine of £100, if the vehicle remains uninsured, whether or not the fine is paid, can result in further action including clamping and removing the vehicle. Offenders may also be taken to court where a fine of £1000 can be levied.

Dean Smith from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which holds all the data for car insurance in the UK, said: “Uninsured driving is a serious and costly issue throughout Scotland and the rest of the country for which honest motorists currently have to foot the bill. There are currently 1.2 million uninsured vehicles in the UK, and it’s encouraging to see Scottish Police forces disrupt criminal activity and unite in the fight against this menace.

“Today’s operation is proof of  the crucial role that the Motor Insurance Database plays in assisting the Police with on-road enforcement and keeping our roads safe, sending a clear message to criminals that we and the public deem their behaviour socially unacceptable and are clamping down.”

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