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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 13:26 GMT
Uninsured drivers face crackdown
Seized car
Increasing numbers of drivers are seeing their cars destroyed
Police have seized a record number of uninsured vehicles as they try to limit the number of deaths and accidents on the UK's roads, insurers have said.

More than 100,000 uninsured vehicles have been seized this year, compared with 78,000 in 2006, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said.

It estimates that 45,000 confiscated cars have been crushed since January.

Every year, uninsured drivers are involved in accidents that injure some 12,000 people and kill 150.

Compensating the victims of uninsured drivers costs 500m, adding 30 a year to premiums paid by other motorists, insurers said.

'Determination'

The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for uninsured driving, with some estimates suggesting one in every twenty cars on the road is not covered.

The fight against uninsured drivers has now stepped up a gear
Ashton West, MIB

The industry says uninsured drivers are responsible for a tenth of all accidents, and are 10 times more likely to have been convicted of drink-driving

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the ABI, welcomed the progress made against the "menace" posed by uninsured drivers:

"These figures show that the determination of the insurance industry, and the police to drive them from our roads is beginning to bear fruit," he said.

"However we need to ensure that the penalties they face reflect the seriousness of this crime."

Database

At the moment it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle.

From 2009 it will also be illegal to own such a vehicle unless the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has been formally notified that the vehicle has been taken off the road.

At present, motorists convicted of driving without insurance face between six and eight penalty points on their licence, a maximum fine of 5,000 and potential disqualification.

The police said they are making increasing use of automatic number plate recognition technology to detect cars believed to be uninsured.

Number plate details are checked against a database of cars maintained by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), an industry-funded body established in 1946 to compensate the victims of uninsured and untraced motorists.

Last year it dealt with 71,000 claims, the group said.

Ashton West, group chief executive, MIB, said: "The fight against uninsured drivers has now stepped up a gear, and we expect vehicle seizure numbers to increase over the coming months."

SEE ALSO
Warning over insurance 'fronting'
20 Oct 07 |  Moneybox
Fraudulent insurance claims rise
18 Oct 07 |  Business
Police seize over 6,000 vehicles
16 Oct 07 |  England
Life in the fast lane
25 Jul 07 |  Magazine
Car insurance costs 'prompt lies'
10 Jul 07 |  Business
Fraud body warns of crash scams
16 Dec 06 |  Moneybox

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