Almost 7,000 uninsured motorists were detected on Northern Ireland’s roads during the course of last year, figures published by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) show.
During 2021, routine checks carried out on vehicle users by officers in each of the province’s eleven council areas found that 6,905 of these were not legally covered.
Insurance-related matters were followed by incidents of speeding (6,721), with offences connected to driving licence irregularities totalling 3,603.
Of the 42,449 detections made up to December 31, three fifths resulted in a referral for prosecution and almost one quarter in endorsable fixed penalty notices where individuals received a fine and penalty points.
Despite the high number of motoring violations logged last year, it is actually a decrease of 6,597 (13%) on the 49,046 detections recorded in 2020. In fact, motoring offence detections have fallen by two-fifths over the last ten years, with 2021 experiencing the largest annual reduction since 2013.
Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson – the CEO of Compare NI – said: “It’s quite shocking to see lack of insurance as the number one motoring offence.
“Insurance is a legal requirement that protects drivers, it also safeguards their finances, at a time when the cost of living has almost never been so high. Car insurance doesn’t have to be an expensive outgoing anymore, there are tips people can use to get more for their money and our comparison website keeps insurance providers competitive.
“Obviously, safety is the first priority, but from a financial point of view being convicted of a motoring offence can also increase the cost of your car insurance quite significantly, with six penalty points resulting in insurance premiums spiking by 25% on average,” he added.
Previous PSNI research identified men as committing 80% of all motoring offences, with those aged between 30 and 49 representing the highest number of offenders. Over half of this group were detected for mobile phone offences alone.
“The use of mobiles while driving is an addictive and dangerous distraction that has been involved in 1.6 million car accidents worldwide,” said Wilson. “An important piece of legislation that went through last week banning people from touching their phones while driving, highlights the long awaited zero tolerance approach to using mobiles while driving.
“We’ll likely see a surge of penalty points over the next couple of months as the new law is enforced, so we’d encourage all motorists to avoid temptation and put their phone out of reach while driving.”