POLICE have been targeting uninsured and unlicensed drivers on Angus roads as part of a national crackdown on traffic offences.
The three-day campaign also dealt with speeding, the use of seatbelts, appropriate use of child safety restraints and the use of mobile phones.
With the insurance industry estimating that each premium may be increased by £30 to cover the risk posed by uninsured drivers, Tayside Police has used legislation to seize nearly 4,000 vehicles over the last six years which were either uninsured or driven by unlicensed drivers.
Vehicles are only released after payment of a fee and if the vehicle is not reclaimed within seven days it is disposed of. More than a third of the vehicles seized so far have gone unclaimed.
In addition to seizure of their vehicles, drivers also face being reported to the Procurator Fiscal or receiving a £200 fixed penalty and a six-point endorsement on their licence.
Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Tayside Police’s head of road policing, said: “Motorists using vehicles without a valid policy of insurance or full and current driving licence are very obviously taking a conscious decision to flout road traffic legislation which is intended to assist in keeping the roads safe for us all.
“It is conceivable that persons using vehicles in this cavalier manner may have the same approach to routine maintenance of their vehicles. We’ve previously emphasised the importance of appropriate and ongoing maintenance to maximise safety on the roads. The combination of these attitudes can result in very serious and tragic consequences.
“Whilst there are many people that intentionally drive without statutory documents, we frequently detect drivers that have failed to deal with their obligations correctly to ensure for example, that insurance renewals have been dealt with timeously; that they have not lapsed; and that the correct cover for the actual use of the vehicle at that time by that driver is in place.
“Similar attention requires to be given to driving licences to ensure that they remain fully valid, for example the licence itself and the photograph remains current and that the driver actually has the entitlement to drive the particular class of vehicle at that time.
“On many occasions we find drivers being caught out because they haven’t paid attention to the details which it is their absolute responsibility to do. This campaign is intended to get drivers thinking about their obligations and to ensure that they do not become another statistic or that their actions or inactions do not result in more serious consequences.”
Chief Inspector Bowman added that seizure of vehicles has been “invaluable” in removing vehicles from the roads.
He said: “There is no doubt that if we did not have this legislation a greater number of these vehicles would still be in use on our roads and would still be a danger to us all.
“This is in addition to the endorsement of your driving licence which will have consequences on any subsequent insurance premiums for many years.
“In the short term you will also be deprived of the vehicle for some time which may have an effect on your day to day family life and perhaps your employment. All of these consequences should combine in providing a significant deterrent to driving without the relevant statutory documents or ensuring you or the driver of your vehicle is fully covered and entitled to drive.”