UK police forces are cracking down on uninsured motorists this week as part of a new operation to take cars off the road being driven without appropriate cover.

‘Op Drive Insured’ is a week-long coordinated effort by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the police that begins today and will target vehicles identified as uninsured.

It says police have removed over 100,000 motors without cover from our roads already this year, with a third being crushed. Yet more needs to be done to clampdown on the rising crime that’s adding £500million a year to insurance premiums.

Birmingham will be one of the main focusses of the operation, with data held by insurance firms showing that seven out of ten postcodes where claims are made involving uninsured motorists are in the city.

police crackdown on uninsured drivers starts today: forces launch week-long operation as birmingham is revealed as the uk's hotspot

Crackdown: ‘Op Drive Insured’ is a week-long coordinated effort by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and the police that begins today and will target vehicles identified as uninsured

The operation has been launched by the MIB and the National Police Chief Council’s (NPCC) National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigations (NRPOII) unit.

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 this is disputed by the driver, MIB will liaise with the insurer in question in real time to confirm the vehicle’s insurance status.

If the provider says there is no cover on that vehicle, it will be tracked down and seized by officers – and potentially crushed.

Offenders will also receive a minimum £300 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

In the most serious cases, they will face court and receive an unlimited fine and/or a driving ban.

police crackdown on uninsured drivers starts today: forces launch week-long operation as birmingham is revealed as the uk's hotspot

UK police have so far removed over 100,000 uninsured motors from our roads already this year, with a third of them being crushed

police crackdown on uninsured drivers starts today: forces launch week-long operation as birmingham is revealed as the uk's hotspot

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

The crackdown comes as figures show that someone in the UK is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver every 20 minutes – and each day at least one person suffers an injury so severe that they require life-long care.

The operation runs until 27 November. The bureau says it received over 26,000 claims from victims who had been involved in a collision with an uninsured driver last year alone.

And so far in 2022, more than 100,000 uninsured drivers have had their vehicle seized, with a third of these motors crushed.

POSTCODES WITH MOST CLAIMS LINKED TO UNINSURED DRIVERS 

Highest levels of uninsured driving

1. B18 (Birmingham)

2. B9 (Birmingham)

3. B8 (Birmingham)

4. B21 (Birmingham)

5. B6 (Birmingham)

6. RM19 (Purfleet)

7. B66 (Smethwick)

8. M8 (Manchester)

9. B11 (Birmingham)

10. B10 (Birmingham)

Lowest levels of uninsured driving

1. G4 (Glasgow)

2. BH18 (Poole)

3. TD7 (Selkirk)

4. PA28 (Campbeltown)

5. SG3 (Knebworth)

6. PA20 (Isle of Bute)

7. EH1 (Edinburgh)

8. LL61 (Isle of Angelsey)

9. AB53 (Turriff)

10. TD5 (Kelso)

Source: MIB

Records show that over half a million uninsured cars have been seized by police since 2018.

Of the 542,370 cars commandeered by forces from 2018 to the middle of this year, the most were seized in 2020 when Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions were in place, with some vehicle owners choosing to cancel their insurance policies to save money while they weren’t able to drive.

Failure to declare their vehicles as SORN with the DVLA, remove them from the road and keep them on private property, lead to a rise in offences, said the AA.

The rise in cases of uninsured drivers is having a dramatic economic impact.

The growing scale of the issue now costs innocent motorists nearly £500million a year in higher premiums.

Furthermore, government figures also suggest injuries caused by uninsured and hit-and-run drivers potentially cost the economy nearly £2.2billion a year in emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity and human costs.

police crackdown on uninsured drivers starts today: forces launch week-long operation as birmingham is revealed as the uk's hotspot

The crackdown comes as figures show that someone in the UK is hit by  an uninsured or hit-and-run driver every 20 minutes

Crackdown on uninsured hotspots like Birmingham

Whilst Op Drive Insured is taking place across all regions of the UK, extra attention will be given to uninsured hotspots in each local region.

At a national level, Birmingham has the highest levels of uninsured driving, which represents the top five postcodes where most claims are made following incidents with motorists who have no cover.

In fact, Birmingham makes up seven in the top 10 postcodes for the whole of the country, with Smethwick (four miles outside Birmingham) also in seventh spot.

On the flipside, Scotland appears to have the lowest volume of uninsured motorists, according to the data.

Paul Farley, law enforcement manager at MIB, said uninsured drivers are ‘simply dangerous’, cause a ‘much higher rate of collisions’, and are ‘often linked to wider road crime including hit-and-run crashes’.

He adds: ‘We’re working day and night with our police partners to put an end to this.

‘We hope Op Drive Insured sends a clear message that no one is above the law and those who choose to drive without insurance will not get away with it.’

Roads Minister, Richard Holden, also made a statement on the operation, saying it will crackdown on those taking a ‘free-ride off everyone else’ and is part of the Government’s ‘commitment to improving road safety’.

HOW MANY UNINSURED CARS HAVE BEEN SEIZED WHERE YOU LIVE? 

Police Force 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 TOTAL
Avon and Somerset Police 2,762 2,933 2,915 2,394 1,636 12,640
Bedfordshire Police 1,609 1,729 1,765 1,437 808 7,348
British Transport Police 2 2 7 20 8 39
Cambridgeshire Constabulary 1,999 2,104 1,841 1,610 928 8,482
City of London Police 298 530 530 398 177 1,933
Cleveland Police 1,707 1,613 1,943 1,575 790 7,628
Cumbria Constabulary 763 731 769 632 387 3,282
Derbyshire Constabulary 2,477 2,193 2,219 2,033 1,058 9,980
Devon and Cornwall Police 1,709 2,251 2,333 1,852 1,258 9,403
Dorset Police 1,099 965 1,001 792 530 4,387
Durham Constabulary 1,119 1,392 1,501 1,117 648 5,777
Dyfed-Powys Police 725 585 622 391 218 2,541
Essex Police 3,394 3,980 4,135 3,555 2,126 17,190
Gloucestershire Constabulary 1,085 1,067 1,261 1,020 N/A 4,433
Greater Manchester Police 6,106 6,730 7,307 7,265 4,727 32,135
Gwent Police 1,376 1,418 1,515 1,213 740 6,262
Hampshire Constabulary 2,448 2,383 2,334 1,959 1,434 10,558
Hertfordshire Constabulary 2,204 2,265 2,358 2,088 1,118 10,033
Humberside Police 2,087 2,412 3,075 2,377 1,169 11,120
Lancashire Constabulary 3,369 3,330 3,357 2,578 1,523 14,157
Leicestershire Police 2,431 2,670 3,512 2,965 1,364 12,942
Lincolnshire Police 1,938 2,120 1,976 1,650 1,086 8,770
Merseyside Police 3,040 3,326 3,231 3,468 2,158 15,223
Metropolitan Police Service 14,551 13,489 12,760 13,763 8,337 62,900
Norfolk Constabulary 1,603 1,686 1,691 1,563 851 7,394
North Wales Police 1,188 1,086 1,111 1,014 589 4,988
Northamptonshire Police 2,084 2,444 3,156 2,467 1,516 11,667
Northumbria Police 1,642 1,558 2,117 1,629 869 7,815
North Yorkshire Police 1,057 990 1,111 984 724 4,866
Nottinghamshire Police 2,084 2,444 3,156 2,467 1,516 11,667
Police Service of Northern Ireland 2,622 2,184 1,978 1,609 967 9,360
Police Scotland 6,837 6,851 8,811 6,747 3,963 33,209
South Wales Police 2,577 1,996 2,147 1,238 972 8,930
South Yorkshire Police 2,566 3,111 3,915 2,999 1,604 14,195
Staffordshire Police 2,956 2,546 2,744 2,804 1,316 12,366
Suffolk Constabulary 1,270 1,412 1,386 1,152 557 5,777
Surrey Police 1,658 1,542 1,656 1,574 848 7,278
Sussex Police 1,992 1,859 2,055 1,979 1,251 9,136
Thames Valley Police 3,388 3,796 3,282 2,725 1,624 14,815
Warwickshire Police 1,507 1,707 1,986 1,636 648 7,484
West Mercia Police 2,171 2,417 2,485 2,084 1,008 10,165
West Midlands Police 8,626 9,836 10,872 9,226 5,496 44,056
West Yorkshire Police 6,873 7,889 8,708 6,734 3,625 33,829
Wiltshire Police 947 959 1,018 776 510 4,210
TOTAL 115,946 120,531 129,652 111,559 64,682 542,370
Source: AA Insurance. NB: Freedom of Information request made to all 46 police forces. Only Cheshire and Kent Police failed to respond with data

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