Police forces and insurers are leading a coordinated sting on uninsured drivers this week after it was revealed more than 117,000 convictions were handed to motorists in 2022 for failing to have cover.
Last year, 76,500 people were sentenced for driving without insurance and 40,150 drivers were convicted of keeping a vehicle without valid insurance, Ministry of Justice data shows.
However, AA Insurance Services estimates the total number of uninsured motors on the road to be closer to one million – and this is one of the driving forces behind rising average premiums.
That said, drivers can protect themselves from uninsured drivers with a stipulation in their policies – as we explain below…
During the week of action, police will use the Motor Insurance Database – a live record of all motor insurance policies – to see if cars are insured. If they are, they will be seized
Since 2005, the Motor Insurance Bureau’s efforts with support from the Government, insurers and police has helped seize more than 2.5million uninsured vehicles.
Drivers caught without cover receive a minimum fine of £300 and six penalty points on their licence.
In the most serious cases, it can result in prosecution, with the prospect of an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving – as well as the vehicle being seized and potentially destroyed by the police.
Of the 76,774 drivers convicted of driving without insurance last year, around a quarter were handed to drivers aged 18 to 24, the AA’s insurance team found.
However, the bulk of convictions were issued to motorists aged 30 to 39, with 23,395 in total found guilty by courts.
In 94 per cent of cases, it resulted in points being issued on a driving licence while 2,140 drivers were disqualified. The average fine issued by the courts was £352, last year’s figures show.
According to the MIB, every 20 minutes someone in the UK is injured by an uninsured driver.
This equates to around 26,000 injuries and 130 deaths per year.
It is estimated that insurers pay out more than £300million in compensation claims to victims of uninsured driver collisions annually.
Crackdown: ‘Op Drive Insured’ is a week-long coordinated effort by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the police that begins today (Monday 20 November) and will target vehicles identified as uninsured
According to the Association of British Insurers, uninsured drivers are adding an extra £53 to the cost of every motor premium in the UK
And the cost to the UK economy is a further £2.2billion-a-year, with the additional bills of emergency service response, medical care, loss of productivity and property damage.
Court prosecution statistics for uninsured driving in 2022
Using motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks – 76,774 convictions
Keeping vehicle which does not meet insurance requirements – 40,150 convictions
Other vehicle insurance offences (excluding forgery) – 57 convictions
Making false statement or withholding material information in order to obtain the issue of a certificate of insurance – 13 convictions
Fraud, forgery etc. associated with insurance certificate – 10 convictions
Source: Ministry of Justice data analysed by AA Insurance Services
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), uninsured drivers add an extra £53 to the cost of every motor premium.
In addition, uninsured motorists have been found to often have links to wider crime such as hit-and-runs, which makes it all the more important that they’re identified and prosecuted.
The problem reached such a scale in 2016 that the MIB launched the first ‘Operation Drive Insured’ – an enforcement awareness week to clampdown on law-breaking drivers.
This year’s seven-day sting starts today and will see liaison officers join roadside police operations to provide a direct link to the Motor Insurance Database.
The clampdown is part of a fresh £5million investment from the MIB announced in October as part of its own efforts to get uninsured drivers off the roads sooner to make our roads safer.
MIB’s Martin Saunders, who is leading the programme, said: ‘We’ve expanded our enforcement team to support and equip the police at the roadside, committed to fund Operational Tutelage for another three years, and have already started work to refresh the way we work out with the DVLA to compare a list of vehicles on the road with those that carry insurance to help identify problem vehicles and inform motorists to buy insurance.
‘But there’s lots more we’re going to do. We’ll have a big focus on leveraging technologies and data in our digital world such asutilising predictive analytics; better informed ‘hotspots’ and establishing partnerships with those who we believe can help tackle the uninsured problem.
‘We’ll all continue influencing government because we don’t believe the current penalties for driving uninsured are a strong enough deterrent. With this more focused and co-ordinated approach, there will be no hiding places for those who continue to flout the law.’
AA Insurance Services estimates the total number of uninsured motors on the road is close to one million. Motorists can directly protect themselves with a stipulation within policies
How you can protect yourself from uninsured drivers
Every driver is burdened by the impact of uninsured drivers.
However, Gus Park, managing director for AA Insurance Services, says licenced motorists can directly protect themselves from those who risk driving without insurance.
‘Sadly, every law-abiding driver feels the pinch when it comes to uninsured vehicles as the collisions they cause must be paid for,’ he explains.
‘Checking your policy has an uninsured driver promise is a great way to protect yourself should you have a crash with someone without insurance.’
Uninsured driver promises are a guarantee that your no-claims discount will be reinstated and your excess reimbursed if you’re involved in an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have cover.
Many fully comprehensive policies will include an uninsured driver promise as standard, but not all.
When renewing a policy, it’s always worth checking if an uninsured driver promise is included.
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