'You will get caught' warning as 118,500 uninsured vehicles seized from roads
Around 118,500 uninsured vehicles have been seized from the UK's roads during 2015, marking an increase on the previous year, according to figures from the Motor Insurers' Bureau.
The annual total exceeds a target set by the MIB, which works with police forces to thwart uninsured drivers, that 116,500 uninsured vehicles should be seized this year.
The MIB said that last year, 116,000 uninsured vehicles were seized.
Its 2015 target for 116,500 vehicles was reached on December 17 - and it estimates that by the end of December 31 just under 118,500 vehicles will have been seized throughout this year.
The MIB is a not-for-profit body funded by the insurance industry, and ultimately the insurance policies of all drivers. It acts as a financial safety net for innocent motorists involved in accidents when the perpetrators are uninsured or cannot be traced.
Police forces use the MIB's database to check whether cars are recorded as having insurance. The MIB also operates a call centre for police officers to check additional details, for example if a driver claims that they have insurance but the MIB's database says otherwise. Around one in three cars which are seized by police involve a call being made to the MIB's call centre.
People who are caught driving uninsured face a £300 penalty as well as six points on their licence. If their car is seized by police, as well as having to find their own way home, the owner faces a £20-per-day storage charge and a £150 fee to recover their car. They will also need to obtain valid insurance in order to get their car back.
Cars which are not claimed within a fortnight end up being crushed. Around 30% to 40% of cars which are seized end up being crushed.
And if an uninsured driver injures someone, the MIB is entitled to recover any payments made to the victims as well as any claim costs.
Ashton West, chief executive of the MIB, told the Press Association that the estimated number of uninsured drivers on the UK's roads has halved over the last decade, from nearly two million in 2005 to around one million now.
He said the growing number of vehicles being seized follows steps the MIB has taken to work more closely with police forces, as well as the launch of a new awareness drive in September called Gone in Seconds. An online video at www.goneinseconds.org.uk, which has also been shown in cinemas, has been viewed around 800,000 times so far.
Referring to uninsured drivers, Mr West said: "Our message is that you will get caught."
He said that, while some people may have received a car as a Christmas gift this year, "you need to recognise that the cost of motoring includes insurance".