Figures released by Staffordshire Police show that they seized 2,388 vehicles in the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 for having no insurance or licence.
Of these, 853 vehicles were taken of the road forever and crushed.
Chief Inspector Vera Bloor, from the force’s tactical support department said, ‘We are working hard to make Staffordshire’s roads safer. There are many problems associated with vehicles, and a key issue is drivers who are not licensed or insured for the vehicles they are in. Some vehicles also have major problems ““ such as tyre or brake defects ““ that could lead to them being involved in a collision causing injury or even death. If a driver without insurance is involved in a collision there are financial implications for victims and insurance companies.’
She continued ‘Another worrying implication is drivers without a licence are potentially more dangerous as they have not proved they have the basic driving skills needed to drive a vehicle safely. If people break road traffic legislation they could also be breaking other laws and often people caught are also arrested for their involvement in other crimes.’
The force’s road crime team and officers around the county carry out on-going operations to target anti-social use of vehicles, people using mobile phones whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt, or driving a vehicle that is not in a roadworthy condition.
Officers use the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which tells them if a vehicle is insured, has a current tax and gives information that may show whether the driver is licensed to drive.
‘Some drivers cancel insurance payments after they have paid the first instalment and, if caught for an offence, produce the insurance certificate to police. But the ANPR system shows if the driver is not covered,’ added Ch Insp Bloor.
‘We also work closely with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Environment Agency on a variety of different operations that take place throughout the year. Our main aim is to reduce the number of road casualties and make Staffordshire roads even safer to use.’
If all the vehicles that were crushed were stacked on top of each other they would reach the same height of the Eiffel Tower or if parked up, they would cover the same area as 14 football pitches.