More than a thousand warning letters sent to uninsured drivers
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
More than a thousand warning letters have been sent to uninsured Suffolk drivers as part of a nationwide initiative.
Operation Tutelage has been hailed as having encouraged three in every four people to correct their insurance status after receiving the letter.
Led by the National Roads Policing Operations and Intelligence (NRPOI) unit and supported by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), the initiative was introduced last January 2020 to reduce uninsured driving levels across the UK.
Up until the end of August this year, 1,172 letters had been sent out in Suffolk as part of an effort to help roads police focus on the remaining dangerous drivers who intentionally drive without insurance.
Nationally, figures show that 151,464 of 215,000 recipients had corrected their insurance status after receiving the letters, which were developed alongside Dr Helen Wells, a criminologist and roads policing expert from Keele University, drawing on research into the use of nudges, behaviour change approaches and the concept of procedural justice.
Roads and armed policing team inspector, Gary Miller said he was encouraged by the results, adding: "The penalties for not having insurance are significant and outweigh the cost of cover. It's important to realise that.
"This is about personal responsibility and respect for the rules of the road. Everyone should be aware of their responsibility when they get behind the wheel.
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"Insurance companies will generally update customers when the policy is about to expire. Quite often, they will automatically renew.
"While there are benefits to that, sometimes people don't keep track because they feel the insurance company will do it for them.
"We find people will move house, or change email or phone number, and the notifications aren't getting through, so they don't have that prompt.
"There are also situations where an insurance company can't collect a monthly payment and void the policy.
"There are also clerical errors, so our appeal is for people to examine their insurance documents when they come through."
Ben Fletcher, MIB chief customer officer, said: “Op Tutelage is delivering outstanding results. By utilising MID (Motor Insurance Database) data and behavioural change approaches, we can encourage most drivers who are not correctly insured to positively act."
Driving without insurance can result in a £300 fixed penalty notice, six points, and the vehicle being seized and crushed.
Uninsured drivers could also face an unlimited fine and a driving ban at court.