Road policing officers are currently undertaking a week of enhanced operations to seize uninsured drivers’ vehicles and improve road safety.
‘Operation Drive Insured’ is being carried out alongside the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), a not-for-profit organisation that compensates victims of uninsured driving and works with the police to tackle the issue.
It estimates that 26,000 people are injured each year in the UK in collisions caused by an uninsured or untraced driver.
In addition to the human impact, the economic cost of providing services to compensate victims amounts to around £400 million annually, which is ultimately funded through higher insurance premiums from law-abiding motorists.
There are currently estimated to be around 40,000 uninsured motorists in Scotland.
Using the Motor Insurance Database (MID), a central record of all active UK motor insurance policies, roadside officers can easily check if a vehicle appears to be uninsured.
If a driver denies being uninsured, MIB can quickly liaise with insurers to confirm if valid insurance exists.
Paul Bennett, MIB national police liaison officer, said: “Each month we support enforcement by investigating the insurance status of up to 1000 vehicles in Scotland and insight shows us just how dangerous uninsured drivers are.”
Each year MIB sees a large volume of uninsured drivers stopped by the police who are also found to be driving while disqualified or without a valid driving licence.
A number are also caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Mr Bennett added: “It comes as no surprise Police Scotland are making proactive efforts to protect innocent road users.
“Those who drive without insurance must realise it isn’t worth the risk; they will get caught and if the case goes to court, they will gain a criminal conviction which can have a severe impact on their independence and livelihood.
“The message is simple – always drive insured.”
When a driver is found not to have insurance, they can have their vehicle seized and crushed, along with a £300 fixed penalty notice and six licence points.
If the case goes to court offenders can receive an unlimited fine and a driving ban.
Uninsured driving convictions will also show on basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
Last year, 7127 uninsured vehicles were seized across Scotland.
Superintendent Louise Blakelock, Police Scotland’s deputy head of road policing, said: “Officers will target uninsured drivers and, in doing this, we hope to minimise the inconvenience caused to the general public and contribute to the overall safety of our roads. Ultimately, the honest motorist is penalised by having to pay higher premiums as a result of claims arising from uninsured losses.
“Many thousands of people are injured each year by uninsured drivers, therefore we will continue to target these individuals as they present an unnecessary risk to other road users.”