HUNDREDS of uninsured drivers have had their vehicles seized after been caught out by police, new figures show.
Officers today warned about the dangers of dodgy drivers, as it was revealed they had slammed the brakes on 796 motorists over the past year who had failed to get insured.
In 2011, there were more than 20,000 uninsured vehicles in the Northumbria Police force area.
Sergeant Jason Ryder, of the force’s Road Safety Unit, said: “We have a number of methods to detect uninsured drivers, including using automatic number plate recognition.
“The hi-tech system scans number plates and matches them against a database to identify vehicles of interest, including uninsured drivers and they can then be intercepted by an officer.
“Every time a vehicle is stopped, our systems will show if it has valid insurance and we will check the Motor Insurance Database.
“If there is no valid insurance, then the driver faces having their licence endorsed with penalty points, paying a fine or ultimately having their vehicle taken away and destroyed.
“For some drivers, the additional penalty points may force them into losing their licence.”
If a vehicle is seized, to reclaim it the driver will have to stump up recovery fees – a minimum charge of £150 plus storage costs – and must provide proof of valid insurance before their vehicle is returned.
Sgt Ryder added: “There is a lot a stake if you are caught by the police without insurance.
“Our advice is don’t gamble on insurance. Make sure you’re covered.”
Dean Smith, from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “There are an estimated 23,000 injuries and 160 deaths caused every year as a result of this costly issue.”
Ian Broom, DVLA casework and enforcement director, said: “All motorists are required by law to tell us when they move address. We will then update our records and send the motorist a new vehicle registration certificate.
“If the address is not updated then any correspondence from us, including vehicle tax reminders, will be sent to the motorist’s old address.”
Check you’re covered
MOTORISTS can check their vehicle is recorded as insured by visiting www.askMID.com
Enter your vehicle registration number and the website will then tell you whether your registration is showing as insured on the nationally held database.
If no insurance record is shown, the registered owner will receive a warning letter in the post.