Police crush millionth uninsured car... and driver's hopes of romance
7 September 2012
POLICE have today (Friday 7 September) crushed the millionth uninsured car seized by police - along with the hapless owner’s hopes of romance!
The car, a Ford Fiesta, was seized on 21 August as part of an ongoing operation to rid the region’s roads of uninsured motors.
When stopped in Bordesley Green, the 45-year-old driver told officers that he needed the car as he was going on a date later that day.
Despite his pleas, the car was towed away and held in a secure compound for two weeks ready to be returned as soon as he presented the relevant documents.
When this failed to happen, officers took the decision to crush the car.
Neil Drane, head of Database Services at Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “Since the millionth uninsured vehicle was seized two weeks ago, the driver could have received six penalty points to their license, paid £200 fixed penalty and £150 removal charges with a £20 daily storage fee. Around 30% of seized vehicles are never reclaimed and the remainder are only allowed back on the road once they are legal.
“The crushing of the millionth uninsured vehicle is a motoring milestone in the fight against uninsured driving and is proof that the law is catching up with uninsured motorists who are estimated to kill 130 people and injure 26,500 every year.”
News of the seizure and crushing comes after MIB figures demonstrate that the West Midlands has 12 of the UK’s top 20 postcodes for uninsured drivers – 11 of these are in Birmingham and one is in Wolverhampton.
Some of the reasons cited by motorists living in these hotspot areas, include: the cost of motor insurance, not understanding the law and penalties, and a belief that they’ll get away with it.
Chief Inspector Chris Edwards, head of the force’s Traffic Unit, saw the car being crushed. He said: “In the West Midlands we continue to adopt a multi-agency approach in partnership with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles on our roads.
“West Midlands Police relentlessly enforces the law in respect of uninsured driving, which has led to a seizure of 5,881 vehicles between January and July 2012. In simple terms we seize on average 27 vehicles every day of the week or the equivalent of 1 an hour. This represents a 5% increase on seizures for the same period in 2011 and 10% on the same period in 2010.
“Drivers at the time their vehicle is seized are also summonsed to court for the offence of driving uninsured, where they are likely to receive significant fines and penalty points on their driving licence.
“Through the control and direction of groups such as the Birmingham Road Safety Partnership, agencies including West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council our officers have worked hand in hand with the MIB to deliver a range of educational and awareness inputs to young and up and coming drivers in the 16-24 year age range.
“This is a longer-term strategy running concurrent with enforcement activity, intended to dismantle a deep seated mind set and culture amongst some members of the driving community that still think that it is acceptable to risk driving uninsured.
“The programme reinforces the physical, emotional and financial risks to drivers and other road users of driving uninsured, and at the same time offers practical advice and reassurance to drivers to help them to obtain bona-fide insurance policies and become responsible and safer drivers.
“Through this combination of intense enforcement and educational activity we remain optimistic and confident that the number of uninsured motorists across the West Midlands will start to show a reduction in the MIB’s data over the next three years. This of course is also dependent on drivers taking responsibility to either obtain legitimate insurance policies or otherwise refrain from driving.”
Drivers have seven days to present the relevant documentation at a nominated police station. The law allows police to dispose of unclaimed uninsured vehicles as they see fit after a further seven days.
In the West Midlands, police scrap low value cars which pays local recovery firms and compound providers involved in seizure operations ensuring the project is cost free for the force and therefore local tax payers.
Cars with a high re-sale value are auctioned with the money raised going to fund community crime fighting initiatives.
Uninsured drivers cost law abiding motorists approximately £30 extra on their premiums each year.
In addition to any injuries, those hit by uninsured drivers in collision not only face the inconvenience of having to organise insurance claims, but also lost no claims bonuses and higher premiums.
It is not known whether the man whose car was crushed today made his romantic rendezvous.
All drivers can check their vehicle is recorded on the Motor Insurance Database for free by visiting: www.askMID.com
Photos show Bordesley officer, PC Mark Tissington, who cautioned the drive and traffic cop, PC Deon Messe, who stopped the uninsured driver.
Film features Superintendent Alex Murray who is leading the operation in east Birmingham.