The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) reports a massive rise in the number of uninsured vehicles it is seizing every month. At the current rate of 460 vehicles a day, the coppers collect roughly the equivalent of one Helphire fleet per month.
Their annual haul of 170,000 uninsured vehicles in 2008 (up from just 78,000 from 2006, the first full year during which uninsured vehicles were impounded) equates to well over ten times the total car parking capacity of Heathrow Airport and at least ten per cent of projected new cars sales for the current year.
An ACPO spokesperson “revealed exclusively to Bankstone News” that roughly 60% of these vehicles are eventually returned to their owners following payment of a fixed penalty and production of a valid certificate of insurance. The remaining 40% – around 70,000 vehicles in total ‚ are crushed or otherwise destroyed.
ACPO says key drivers of the rising tally include improved access to the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and the national roll-out of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), with any seizures stemming from using the MID ANPR hotlist (MIDAS).
Frank Whiteley, (brace yourself for his professional description) Association of Chief Police Officers Lead on Automatic Number Plate Recognition and Chief Constable Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “The growing number of vehicle seizures reflects a tremendous achievement by both the police service and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. It demonstrates our joint commitment to eradicating the danger caused by uninsured drivers.
“Uninsured and untraced drivers,” he estimated, “kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year and are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents, to be non-compliant with other road traffic requirements, and potentially involved in other criminal activity.”
MIB CEO Ashton West adds: “Law abiding motorists are paying nearly £30 each towards the £500m plus it costs to compensate people injured by uninsured drivers. The message is clear: uninsured drivers have no right to use their vehicles on our roads and when they do, they are being caught.”
Fascinatingly, it seems uninsured drivers congregate around major population centres. West reveals that: “The UK’s highest levels of uninsured drivers are concentrated in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, London Metropolitan and Merseyside.”