Uninsured drivers - less than one in 10 are caught by the police

Published 31 May 2019

Just eight per cent of uninsured drivers are ever brought to justice by the police, new figures suggest.

There are one million drivers without vehicle insurance in the UK, according to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), with the police catching fewer than 80,000. 

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A freedom of information request to the DVLA by the RAC shows that 79,713 drivers were caught using a vehicle without valid insurance in 2018 - a drop of 27 per cent compared to 2012. However, the number of traffic officers patrolling UK roads fell from 3766 to 2643 between 2007 and 2017 - suggesting that offences are simply going undetected.

The MIB claims that there are one million uninsured drivers in the UK. The independent organisation has access to Government data and is responsible for compensating victims of crashes involving uninsured or untraceable drivers.

“Through ongoing police efforts to seize uninsured vehicles and to encourage motorists to insure their vehicles the number of uninsured drivers has halved over the past 10 years to around one million," said the MIB's head of enforcement services, Neil Drane.

If this estimate is correct, it suggests that just eight per cent of motorists driving illegally without insurance were caught in 2018.

The MIB works with the DVLA to operate Continuous Insurance Enforcement. This involves sending warning letters to owners of uninsured cars and subsequently issuing fines if no insurance is taken out or the car isn't declared off the road.

Drane added: "Uninsured drivers pose a serious danger and significantly impact the lives of thousands of victims each year. The message is simple: one uninsured driver is one too many and if you drive without insurance you will be caught.”

Figures from the MIB reveal that people who drive without insurance are regularly involved in other criminal activity. Its records show that a number of offenders are also caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while many uninsured drivers also don't have a driving licence or are using an untaxed or stolen vehicle.

The RAC's data reveals that 872 children under the age of 17 were caught driving without insurance in 2018 - a drop of 47 per cent compared to 2017. At the other end of the spectrum, the oldest person found to be driving without insurance was a 96-year-old.


Captain-Cretin    on 31 May 2019

I know of a woman who has been driving with no licence or insurance for 15+ years; she even brags about it.

Not sure what illegal means she uses to obtain Road Tax and MOT, but I know of several other people running dangerously modified or clapped out cars that keep getting a clean MOT from an MOT station near Birmingham (30+ miles away).

Even if you report her to the Police, nothing seems to get done.

glidermania    on 31 May 2019

I think 1 in 10 is a massive underestimate.

   on 1 June 2019

I live in Australia, we pay an annual registration fee for our vehicles which includes a Traffic Accident Commission component which covers costs for accident victims. Comprehensive insurance is not mandatory here, I am confused how your system works.

Captain-Cretin    on 2 June 2019

Dont worry, the stupid, disconnected way it is set up; I dont think anyone, including the UK government, understands how it works.

They can auto post fines if your car isnt insured because they have it all on a big database, but dont auto post fines for no MOT even though they have it all on a big data base.

It doesnt help that the Police cannot be bothered to enforce the law unless something serious has happened, or it means they get to be on TV.

Watch one of those Police! Action series gives a very false impression; around here you can watch Police cars following accidents-waiting-to-happen - and they do nothing.

Personal highlights include

A Mini Metro (tiny 4 1/2 seater), carrying 3 adults and 9+ children to a local school every morning.

Fake numberplates; one set went through THREE generations of Landrover Freelander before they were stopped.

Pickups with grossly oversized, protruding wheel/tyre setups that are not road leagal (think mini Monster Trucks).

Various cars with the wheels canted at angles where no more than a 1" strip of the inner edge of rubber touches the road.

Last motorbike crash I witnessed, the guy hit 8 cars after losing control weaving through a queue of traffic at speed (in a 30mph zone) - a Police Officer late for his shift.

   on 3 June 2019

it was an act of true brilliance to "outdate" the tax disc on the windscreen

not a perfect system but it did provide a MOT and insurance check and

a clearly visible check on the road tax.

If its not broke................?!

Politicians.........t is not just Brexit they cant fix

Contax139    on 3 June 2019

ANPR does not cover a lot of areas, never see a police car in our rural areas, bring back the tax disc and could do the same for insurance and MOT so everyone can see if not valid, council parking attendants can also easily do checks as well. In 60's and 70's lived in rural area and had police checks in lay by on main A road constantly in a morning, it was a more thorough system, don't need high paid officers to do the job. Should also tighten and enforce rules on foreign registered cars used in UK for long periods as too many get away with illegal use.

Tony Mahon    on 4 June 2019

When I worked in Swaziland the regulation was that you had to display a Tax Disc and an Insurance Disc on the windscreen.
There have been many Press articles about just how much money this change has COST the treasury.

LFH    on 6 July 2019

I have been trying to report an uninsured (and probably fly-parked) vehicle for a week. Yesterday I phoned 101. The nice lady operator in Southampton told me very firmly that untaxed and uninsured vehicles were of no interest to the police and I should call the DVLA. She said the police were only interested in non-MOTs - goodbye. Refused to give me a ref number for my report and hung up. Wonderful !

I will try again today.

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