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Police carDriving without insurance is not only against the law, it is also risky in other ways; the offence is punishable by a £300 fixed penalty notice, six licence points and possible destruction of your vehicle. Furthermore, there is also the potential for unlimited fines and a lifetime ban, so driving while uninsured convictions can affect employment prospects.

This message is one that the UK’s 43 police forces were looking to communicate to the public during “Operation Drive Insured” (October 26 to November 1), an operation saw a large-scale police attempt to identify and seize uninsured cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes from the nation’s roads.

The campaign is run in conjunction with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigation (NRPOII) committee and has seen an increased police presence on the UK’s roads as police look to apprehend anyone they find driving without suitable van insurance, car insurance or similar.

Not a victimless crime

One thing that the police are keen to do is to dispel the myth of uninsured driving as a “victimless crime”. This is because police know that uninsured drivers are not only more likely to be involved in serious road traffic accidents, but their actions also have a cost for insurance providers and policyholders.

For example, if an uninsured van driver is involved in a serious road accident that injures another driver, all related insurance settlements must be paid for by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). This body is funded by the insurance industry, which, of course, is funded by policyholders; without uninsured van drivers on the roads, the van insurance policies of honest drivers would be cheaper.

According to the MIB, every year 130 people are killed and 26,000 injured as a result of accidents caused by uninsured or untraceable drivers.

Furthermore, according to Anna Fleming, MIB’s chief operating officer, there are concerns that although the number of uninsured drivers has fallen since 2016, the impact of Covid-19 could result in a resurgence.

How many uninsured vans on the UK’s roads

Although statistical evidence detailing the numbers of commercial vehicles that take to the UK’s roads without suitable van insurance is not readily available, newspaper reports paint a rather damning picture.

For example, in just one week, officers from OPU (Operational Patrol Unit) Warwickshire stopped a van on the A45 near Wolston and found that it did not have van insurance and had a number of serious safety defects; Northamptonshire Police spotted a blue Vauxhall Vivaro parked illegally and found that it was uninsured; police in Bournemouth stopped a van driver who had cancelled his van insurance just weeks after purchasing it; and officers from Staffordshire Police Road Policing Unit in Derby stopped a Ford Transit driver for using a mobile phone while driving only to find that he was also driving without van insurance.