With an estimated 99,000 uninsured vehicles in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, the two forces are working together to reduce this number in a constructive way.
Using advanced technology, they are targeting those vehicles which have been spotted out and about without a valid insurance policy attached to them. A letter is then sent to the registered keeper warning them that they must arrange a valid insurance policy before continuing to drive the vehicle.
Hampshire and Thames Valley have already successfully trialled this approach, contacting 2500 keepers of uninsured vehicles and seeing 80% of them reinsure their vehicle as a result. The remaining 20% were then targeted by their roads policing units, with 113 vehicles then being seized.
So far across Staffordshire and the West Midlands 225 registered keepers have been contacted and 69% have already reinsured. Another 213 registered keepers have been contacted in the last two weeks, giving them another two weeks to respond before additional action is taken.
Superintendent Dean Hatton, head of the Central Motorway Policing Group (CMPG), said: “Research shows there can be a number of reasons why a vehicle is uninsured, aside from those who knowingly fail to insure. Operation Tutelage will help vehicle keepers by identifying that their vehicle is uninsured giving them an opportunity to resolve the matter. However, those who deliberately avoid insuring their vehicles, or those who ignore the letters will remain subject to enforcement and prosecution for the offence.”
CMPG’s PC Jim Dutton, who is managing the operation, said: “We know that uninsured vehicles are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision, that drivers of uninsured vehicles are 10 times more likely to have a drink-driving conviction and six times more likely to have a defective vehicle. It is estimated that for 60% of vehicles seized, the driver has a criminal record. We also have 130 people die each year through uninsured driving”.
Those drivers stopped as a result of Tutelage will have their vehicle seized and rather than conditionally offered 6 points and a £300 fine, their case will be sent straight to Magistrates Court where a discretionary disqualification and higher fine will be sought.
The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) who have a remit to reduce uninsured driving, along with Thames Valley and Hampshire Police, have worked closely with the CMPG to assist them in kick starting Tutelage in Staffordshire and West Midlands.
Operation Tutelage letters have already started to be sent out to keepers. It’s hoped that this article will be a good reminder to people to check the status of their insurance, tax and MOT and set expiry reminders on their phone now.
For self-service checks and further information you can visit AskMID.com to check your insurance and Gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle for information on if you’ve recently sold or purchased a vehicle to ensure transfer of ownership.