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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 12:02 GMT
Measures target uninsured drivers
Gear stick
Police can seize and destroy a vehicle if it is uninsured
Uninsured drivers are to be tracked by police using camera technology, who can then seize and possibly destroy their vehicles, under new measures.

Automatic number plate recognition cameras will be used to spot cars being driven without insurance.

The cameras are linked to a database containing details of all UK-registered vehicles believed to be uninsured - estimated to be about two million.

An offence of keeping a vehicle without insurance has also been introduced.


Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said on Tuesday: "Today we are sending out a very clear message to those who drive without insurance - there is now no place to hide."

Of the new offence, Mr Darling said: "This will be enforced through a new database of insurance details which means that uninsured drivers don't even need to be on the road to be caught."

He said that every "law-abiding" motorist paid an estimated 30 extra a year because of uninsured drivers.

Once a vehicle suspected of being driven without insurance has been stopped, a police officer can seize it and have it removed from the road.

If the driver cannot produce proof of insurance within 14 days, they will be prosecuted for driving without insurance and the police will be able to dispose of the vehicle.

'Criminal link'

Meredydd Hughes, head of roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers and chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, said: "Evidence indicates that up to 10% of vehicles on our roads are being used illegally and many of these will be people who drive with no insurance.

"We know that people who don't insure their vehicles, or indeed drive with no licence or test certificate, are more likely to be involved in other criminal activity, and in collisions - collisions in which people may be killed or seriously injured."

The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) has provided police in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire with details of potentially uninsured vehicles from the Motor Industry Database.

This data, plus other police and DVLA information, is used with the new automatic number plate recognition cameras.

The MIB said officers could be up to 10 times more effective than before by using the cameras.


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