Drive to catch uninsured drivers

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

Officers say they will “get as many illegal drivers off the road as possible” during the days of action of Operation Belt, which started this month.

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 are co-ordinating its resources to target as many uninsured motorists as possible on certain days and at a range of locations across the county.

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

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

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.

The force said 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.