More than 1,400 uninsured vehicles have been seized this year, police have revealed ahead of a new campaign.
his week, from November 21-27, police across Northern Ireland will be taking part in the UK-wide Op Drive Insured campaign.
PSNI Superintendent Gary Busch urged all drivers to ensure they are appropriately insured before taking to the roads.
He said this year to November 15, some 1,408 vehicles have been seized for being driven with no insurance on roads across Northern Ireland.
“Of the vehicles seized, 1,063 were subsequently insured, with recovery and any storage fees paid for before being returned to their owners,” he said.
“The driver detected will have received both a £200 on-the-spot fine and six penalty points on their driving licence.
“The remaining 345 vehicles were surrendered and have either been disposed of by crushing and scrapped, or sold at auction dependant on their market value.”
Supt Busch said while some drivers had assumed their insurance would auto renew, while others thought that their comprehensive insurance policy covered them to drive other vehicles.
He said other drivers were detected using their vehicle for for business or reward purposes and some said they had simply forgotten to renew policies.
“At the other end of the spectrum, some uninsured drivers we have detected are those who have carried out other motoring offences, or have been criminals engaged in illegal activity,” he said.
“Any police officer can stop a vehicle, and perform a series of checks at the roadside to see if it is insured.
“Where they reasonably suspect there is no insurance cover in place, they can seize the vehicle.
“That vehicle will be taken to a pound and will not be released until the owner produces proof of valid insurance.
“At that stage, the owner will have to pay a release fee of £150 for a car – more for larger vehicles – and a fee of up to £20 for each day that it has been impounded.
“Of course the owner still faces the automatic £200 fine and six penalty points on their license, or indeed whatever penalty a court can impose for any other criminal offences.
“We do not even need to stop a vehicle for the process to be used. If we see a car being driven and suspect insurance is not in place, we can track it down and seize it wherever we find it. If the vehicle is not claimed and the release fees paid within a fortnight, we have the power to sell the car.
“These are significant financial penalties and should bring home to offenders that it is not worth taking a chance.”
Supt Busch added: “Our message is very clear.
“Check you have the correct insurance in place before you take to the roads.
“When we detect an uninsured driver, the vehicle will be seized on the spot and they will face the full rigour of the law.”