Tackling uninsured and unlicensed drivers

Tayside Police along with all other Scottish Police Forces are working together in an ACPOS national road safety campaign to tackle uninsured and unlicensed drivers.

The campaign began on Tuesday (yesterday) and runs until 7 am on Friday.

Police officers throughout the force will seek to educate road-users and enforce legislation regarding driving whilst uninsured or driving without a valid and current driving licence.

Other offences that impinge on road safety including speeding, failure to wear seat belts, the appropriate use of child safety restraints and those offences that cause distraction on the roads, including the use of mobile phones, will also be targeted.

If a vehicle is driven without a valid policy of insurance or the driver does not have a full current driving licence there is an obvious road safety risk posed to all other road users. The legislation is there to protect us all.

Vehicle insurance is a legal obligation due to the fact that if that vehicle is involved in a collision, at the very least damage is invariably caused to other property and unfortunately all too often persons are injured.

The insurance cover provided ensures that damage to property can be repaired or financial compensation can be sought for any injuries sustained whether that is to cover the cost of medical care, consequential loss of earnings or any long term effects of any injuries sustained.

There are still too many people taking the risk and driving without insurance or without a full current driving licence and all drivers pay a financial penalty for the irresponsible and selfish actions of others.

The motor insurance industry considers that each insurance premium may be increased by the sum of £30 specifically to cover the risk posed by these drivers.

So the law abiding motorist pays the penalty in more ways than one.

Since June 2006, Tayside Police has been utilising the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 165A, which gives police powers to seize vehicles at the roadside when they are driven without a valid policy of insurance or where the driver does not have a full current driving licence.

This immediately removes a significant risk from the road.

To reclaim their vehicle, drivers/owners must subsequently prove that they have a valid policy of insurance and a valid driving licence. If they are able to satisfy the requirements, the vehicle is only released upon payment of an appropriate fee.

If the vehicle is not reclaimed within seven days it is disposed of.

It must be stressed that this is in addition to the driver either being charged with the primary offence and being reported to the Procurator Fiscal or receiving a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty for the sum of £200 and an endorsement of 6 penalty points on their licence.

Since its introduction Tayside Police have seized nearly 4000 vehicles. Approximately a third of these vehicles were not reclaimed and were subsequently disposed of.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of Road Policing, said: “Motorists using vehicles without a valid policy of insurance or full and current driving licence are very obviously taking a conscious decision to flout road traffic legislation which is intended to assist in keeping the roads safe for us all.

“It is conceivable that persons using vehicles in this cavalier manner may have the same approach to routine maintenance of their vehicles.

“We have previously emphasised the importance of appropriate and ongoing maintenance to maximise safety on the roads. The combination of these attitudes can result in very serious and tragic consequences.

“Whilst there are many people that intentionally drive without statutory documents, we frequently detect drivers that have failed to deal with their obligations correctly to ensure for example, that insurance renewals have been dealt with timeously; that they have not lapsed; and that the correct cover for the actual use of the vehicle at that time by that driver is in place. “