Drivers in Scotland are being urged to make sure they have valid insurance or risk losing their vehicle as part of a police crackdown.
From Monday, January 21, Police Scotland is staging a week-long operation to remove uninsured drivers from the roads.
Police use records from the Motor Insurance Beureau (MIB) to check a driver’s insurance status at the roadside. The MIB estimates that around 130 people are killed and more than 26,000 are left injured as a result of uninsured and hit and run drivers.
There are thought to be 40,000 uninsured drivers in Scotland and MIB records show that Glasgow has the highest number of offenders. Four of the five areas with the highest numbers of uninsured vehicle are covered by the city’s postcodes.
Superintendent Louise Blakelock, deputy head of road policing at Police Scotland said: “During this campaign we will increase our focus, to not only detect, but hopefully deter motorists from driving with no insurance.
“The legislation is there to protect all road users and if a vehicle is driven without a valid insurance policy, in common with other road traffic offences, there is an obvious road safety risk.”
Driving without insurance carries a minimum penalty of a £300 fine and six penalty points and drivers are also likely to have their vehicle seized.
MIB data shows that uninsured drivers are also often involved in a wide range of criminal activity. Every year it records a large volume of incidents where an uninsured driver is found without a valid driving licence or using an untaxed or stolen vehicle. Records also show a number of offenders are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
As part of Operation Drive Insured, police will also be checking for other road traffic offences.
Neil Drane, head of enforcement at MIB said the operation would help make Scotland’s roads safer.
He said: “A driver with no valid insurance has no legal right to be on the road and removing them undoubtedly makes roads safer. The increased activity during Operation Drive Insured should get more of these dangerous drivers off our roads.”
MIB provides compensation to victims of uninsured and untraced drivers and estimates that such incidents cost law-abiding drivers £400 million a year through increased premiums to cover the claims.