If you are one of Britain’s one million uninsured drivers, you are more than likely to get away with it. Despite ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras in some police force areas identifying over 4,000 uninsured vehicles every day, very few drivers receive a penalty or are sent for prosecution.
In 2018, only 79,713 drivers received penalty points for having no insurance – a drop of one third on the previous year. It is estimated that uninsured drivers cost law-abiding motorists around £33 a year in increased premiums, but the cost to society is far higher. According to the police, uninsured drivers are six to seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision and 65% have been criminally active in the previous two years (not just traffic offences).
A freedom of information request made by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has revealed that there is no fully automated process in place for dealing with uninsured vehicles. Britain’s network of ANPR cameras read the details of all vehicles as they pass the camera site. The details recorded can then be automatically checked against data from the Motor Insurance Bureau. However, no process is in place to automatically contact the registered keeper of the vehicle as is the case with speed cameras.
Bedfordshire police ANPR cameras detect over two million uninsured vehicles every year and South Yorkshire detect around 1.5 million – only a small proportion of the drivers are penalised. The fixed penalty for driving without insurance is £300 and 6 penalty points. Unfortunately, this penalty fails to dissuade many as £300 represents a small fraction of the cost of a year’s insurance for younger drivers and accruing 12 penalty often fails to lead to disqualification; over 10,000 British drivers have 12 penalty points or more and continue to drive legally.
The low enforcement rate for driving without insurance mirror falling crime detection rates across England and Wales, which have fallen to the lowest level recorded, according to the Home Office. In the 12 months to March 2019, 7.8% of offences saw someone charged or summonsed, down from 15.5% in 2015.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has spoken about out about low detection rates. In a speech about the future of policing, she acknowledged sifting through vast amounts of computer data was partly responsible and called for investment in resources, technology and expertise to drive up clear-up rates.
Our crowdfunded documentary, Stop Killing our Children examines how road danger damages us all, whatever our age and however we travel, and questions our collective blindness to both its cause and remedy.The 40-minute, crowdfunded film is narrated by the BBC’s John Simpson and features interviews with Chris Boardman, Dr Rachel Aldred, Dr Ian Walker, George Monbiot and the founders of the Stop de Kindermoord movement amongst others.Please help turn the tide against road danger. Please watch and share this film.
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