Crime & Policing

Police launch crackdown on uninsured drivers

Traffic police vow to catch “as many uninsured drivers as possible” during county-wide operation

Uninsured motorists are being targeted and their vehicles seized in a special police operation in North Yorkshire.

Starting in January, officers say they will “get as many illegal drivers off the road as possible” during the days of action.

On conviction, motorists also face getting six points on their licence and large fines, with further fees to get seized vehicles back once they are insured.

Uninsured drivers are already routinely detected and caught across the county using a range of methods and technology.

However, North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group will be co-ordinating its resources to target as many uninsured motorists as possible on certain days and at a range of locations across the county. The activity is codenamed Operation Belt.

Locations and tactics are not being publicised by North Yorkshire Police, so illegal drivers will be unable to evade officers.

The estimated one million uninsured drivers in the UK pose a major risk to law-abiding road users, and there has been a rise in serious and fatal collisions involving uninsured motorists nationally.

Many drive without a licence, or in unroadworthy vehicles, and are frequently linked to other forms of criminality.

Traffic Sergeant Mark Patterson said: “Tackling uninsured drivers makes North Yorkshire safer for everyone, and our aim is to take as many off the road as possible.

“But a lack of insurance is often just the start – a number of other offences typically unravel when we stop and investigate these drivers. They might be people who can’t buy insurance because don’t even have a driving licence, or they might be involved in criminal networks such as drugs or theft.

“My message to all uninsured drivers is simple – we’re onto you. The tactics and technology we’ll be using will be virtually impossible to evade.

“If you drive without insurance, we will catch you, we will seize your vehicle and you could start 2020 with an extremely costly court appearance. It’s really not worth the risk.”

In 2018 the Motor Insurance Bureau recorded 26,000 personal injury claims relating to collisions involving uninsured drivers – equivalent to one person in the UK being injured every 20 minutes.

Uninsured drivers also cause a disproportionately high level of fatalities with more than 130 people killed by an uninsured or untraced ‘hit and run’ driver each year.

One contributing factor behind the concerning rate of collisions caused by uninsured drivers is that they aren’t motivated to drive more safely and legally to help keep policy costs down.

Almost 133,000 uninsured vehicles were seized across the UK in 2018.

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