Page last updated at 06:40 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 07:40 UK

'Close to 2m' uninsured drivers

Police officer stopping car
As many as 500 uninsured vehicles are seized every day, say the MIB

Parts of England with the largest number of uninsured drivers have been revealed in new research.

The worst offenders were in Greater London, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, with 13%, 12% and 10% of vehicles uninsured, the research found.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), which compensates people in accidents with uninsured drivers, estimates over 1.7m people drove without cover in 2008.

The MIB is launching a campaign to warn drivers not to let their cover lapse.

The group warned that people driving without insurance could have their vehicle seized and would be given a minimum of six penalty points on their licence and incur a £200 fine.

It added that automatic number plate recognition technology, combined with information from the Motor Insurance Database, leads to as many as 500 uninsured vehicles being seized every day.

Greater London - 13%
Merseyside - 12%
Greater Manchester - 10%
West Yorkshire - 7%
West Midlands - 7%

The MIB campaign is urging people not to consider avoiding paying for insurance as a means of cutting their motoring costs during the recession.

Ashton West, chief executive of the MIB, described the figures revealed by the research as "staggering".

He added: "But there is no doubt that the number of drivers caught each year is increasing significantly, so drivers simply cannot afford to be complacent.

"Indeed, the number of drivers across the UK who were caught without insurance last year would fill Wembley Stadium more than twice. The message to motorists is clear: driving uninsured is simply not worth the risk."

Philip Gomm, of the RAC Foundation, said the situation seemed to be out of hand and had been for a long time.

"That might be linked to economic factors. We know that during a downturn a lot of people are finding financial pressure, they are suffering financial hardship and they think that some of their motoring costs are those that they can drive down," he said.

"But insurance is not an option. You have to have it if you take a vehicle on to the road."

Meanwhile, research carried out by found that 62% of the 1,800 people questioned think motorists caught driving without insurance should face heftier penalties.

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