Targeting uninsured drivers

A NATIONAL campaign intended to provide education and enforcement in respect of unlicenced and uninsured driving will begin all over Scotland at 7 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) and will last for 72 hours.

Tayside Police will take part in the campaign in which other offences which impact on road safety, such as speeding, failing to wear seat belts and using a mobile ‘phone while driving will continue to be targeted.

The latest estimates suggest that there approximately 1.2 million uninsured drivers in the United Kingdom, so it is vital that the enforcement agencies together with the law abiding public work in partnership to identify vehicles which are being used illegally.

Using a vehicle on the public roads without the appropriate insurance has significant implications and should be apparent to us all. For example, law abiding motorists premiums are inflated by £30 per year to compensate for those who choose not to insure the vehicles they are using, an additional financial burden that most of us could do without, especially in the current financial climate.

Similarly, when a collision does occur, the costs incurred are increased when an uninsured driver is involved. Where that collision involves serious injury or death the physical and mental implications are immeasurable without having to deal with protracted legal processes.

Since June, 2006, Tayside Police have been utilising powers provided by Section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988, giving police officers the power to seize vehicles being driven without a driving licence or insurance. In this time, Tayside Police have seized over 4,000 vehicles with over 1,480 of those being subsequently crushed.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, head of road policing, explained: “These campaigns are essentially about providing education and enforcement in respect of road safety. They provide an opportunity to remind drivers throughout the force area that they are risking having their vehicle seized and subsequently crushed if they are caught driving any type of vehicle without a licence or insurance.

“Tayside Police have been using these powers for six years now, and in that time they have proved to be an invaluable tool in removing vehicles from our communities which are a potential danger to us all.

“Without these powers, I have no doubt that some of these vehicles would still be on our roads today. Generally, if vehicles are being used without a driving licence, insurance or an MOT, they are more than likely not maintained in a fully roadworthy condition. Vehicles in a poor state of repair present a significant risk to other road users and seizing them removes that immediate risk.”

The seriousness of these offences is reflected in the level of the maximum fine, £5,000 for no insurance and £1,000 for no licence, and the automatic endorsement of an offender’s licence with three to eight penalty points. The court 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 points on their licence.

Driving without a licence will result in the driver being issued with a £60 endorsable conditional offer of fixed penalty and three penalty points on their licence.

Any vehicle seized under these powers will only be released on payment of the full recovery and storage costs, which is currently £150 recovery plus £20 per day storage fee, and presentation of a valid insurance certificate and/or driving licence.

Chief Inspector Bowman concluded: “They and the vehicles they use are a danger to us all. I would urge anyone who has information regarding an uninsured or unlicensed driver to contact Tayside Police, or information can be passed to us anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”