A recent joint police/government operation has revealed that the number of illegal motorists on Britain’s roads has declined since 2006. The operation was carried out by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), working in conjunction with their Scottish counterparts (APCOS) and the Department for Transport. The aim was to identify motorists who are driving without a licence, insurance or MOT.
Their new figures reveal that the number of unlicenced drivers has halved since 2006. The percentage of uninsured drivers has also declined, from 1.9 percent in 2006 to 1.2 percent today. There was a significant reduction in the number of vehicles driving without an MOT. In 2006 these represented 4.2 percent of motorists, the figure has now declined to 1.5 percent. There were similar reductions in the number of motorists driving without vehicle tax or insurance, and those driving while disqualified.
Road Safety Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, acknowledged that the results were positive, but also indicated that the Government would seek to continue these improvements, “Unlicensed and uninsured drivers are a menace on our roads so I am delighted that this operation found that significantly fewer people were committing these serious offences. Uninsured drivers add £30 a year to every motorist’s insurance premium and it is estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year. That is why we gave the police increased powers to detect, seize and destroy vehicles being driven without insurance. These powers are working – the police removed around 170,000 vehicles in 2007; that’s more than 450 a day”. He added, “We know we need to do more which is why we are introducing a new offence of being the registered keeper of an uninsured vehicle which will leave uninsured drivers with nowhere to hide.”
Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales Police, said, “While there has been a significant improvement in compliance since the previous operation in 2006, we should not be complacent. This type of operation is vital if we are to improve road safety, tackle criminal behaviour and assess the scale of illegal motoring nationally. On a day-to-day basis, road traffic checks take place across the country as part of a continuing monitoring and enforcement effort”.
The operation took place over a 24 hour period on 18th March, 2008, and involved officers from 52 police forces, who stopped 6,689 vehicles.