Police seize 1,400 uninsured vehicles ahead of new campaign

More than 1,400 uninsured vehicles were seized this year, police said ahead of a new campaign.

This week from 21st to 27th November police across Northern Ireland are taking part in the UK campaign ‘Op Drive Insured’.

PSNI Superintendent Gary Busch urged all drivers to ensure they have adequate insurance before hitting the road.

He said that as of November 15 this year, around 1,408 vehicles have been impounded for driving uninsured on roads across Northern Ireland.

“Of the vehicles seized, 1,063 were subsequently insured, with recovery and storage fees paid, before being returned to their owners,” he said.

“The discovered driver has both been fined £200 and six penalty points on his driving licence.

“The remaining 345 vehicles were handed in and, depending on their market value, were either broken up and scrapped or auctioned off.”

Supt Busch said while some drivers assumed their insurance would automatically renew, while others thought their comprehensive insurance policy covered them for driving other vehicles.

He said other drivers have been spotted using their vehicle for business or reward purposes, and some said they simply forgot to renew policies.

“On the other end of the spectrum, some uninsured drivers that we spotted are those who committed other traffic offenses or were criminals involved in illegal activities,” he said.

“Any police officer can stop a vehicle and carry out a series of roadside checks to see if it is insured.

“If they have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is no insurance coverage, they can confiscate the vehicle.

“This vehicle will be brought to a pound and will not be released until the owner provides valid proof of insurance.

“At this stage the owner has to pay a £150 de-registration fee for a car – more for larger vehicles – and a fee of up to £20 for each day it has been impounded.

“Clearly the owner still faces the automatic fine of £200 and six penalty points on their driving licence, or whatever penalty a court may impose for other offences.

“We don’t even have to stop a vehicle to be able to use the method. If we see a car being driven and suspect there is no insurance, we can track it down and impound it wherever we find it. If the vehicle is not claimed and the release fees paid within 14 days, we are entitled to sell the car.

“These are substantial fines and should make it clear to offenders that it’s not worth taking a risk.”

Supt Busch added: “Our message is very clear.

“Check you have the right insurance before hitting the road.

“If we discover an uninsured driver, the vehicle will be immediately impounded and they will be faced with the full severity of the law.”