U.K. Cameras Spot Uninsured Drivers

November 10, 2005

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) notes that U.K. police have started using automatic number plate recognition cameras to spot cars being driven without insurance. The ABI calls the initiative a “new phase” in the “war against the uninsured driving menace.”

Under the new powers authorizing the use of the devices, British police can then seize and dispose of vehicles being driven uninsured.

On the day the national crackdown was launched in Birmingham by the Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s Director General, commented: “Uninsured motorists will now start to feel the full effect of the crackdown on this danger. As more police forces adopt the new technology, uninsured drivers will find it harder than ever to flout the law. Ridding our roads of this menace will not only improve road safety, but reduce the cost for honest motorists, who pay up to an extra £30 [$52.40] a year on their insurance as a result of accidents involving uninsured motorists.”

In a coordinated start to the crackdown, the police in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the West Midlands, and West Yorkshire are targeting uninsured drivers using the new technology. The police will link the Automatic Number Plate Recognition information to details of potentially uninsured vehicles held on the Motor Industry Database.

The ABI notes that “at any one time one in twenty motorists are driving without insurance – 5 percent of all motorists, more than 1 million in total. Accidents involving these drivers cost up to £500 million [$874 million] a year.

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