20/01/17 - Record numbers of motorists fail to supply valid documents when stopped by police:
Record numbers of motorists are failing to supply valid documents after being stopped by the police, amid mounting concern over the number of uninsured or unqualified foreign drivers on British roads. In the past five years more than quarter of a million motorists have refused to disclose their identities after being challenged to do so by officers.
When a driver is stopped by police, they can be asked to provide on the spot identification such as a driving licence, insurance certificate or MOT certificate. If the driver fails to do so, they must supply the correct ID information at a police station within seven days or risk being convicted.
While failing to identify a driver can result in a driving ban or points being added to a licence, the penalty is often less than if they were convicted of driving while uninsured. Figures from the Ministry of Justice have revealed that in the past five years 280,000 drivers have failed to provide valid documents, with 73,000 in 2015 alone.
Convictions have soared by 46 per cent and it now represents the second most common motoring conviction after speeding.
Transport experts believe the dramatic rise in the offence could be down to an increase in the number of uninsured drivers and foreign motorists who do not have the necessary qualifications to drive on British roads.
Regionally, the worst offenders for identity verification with the highest number of convictions are drivers in London (60,643), accounting for more than one in five of all cases in the period 2011-2015.
The North West (47,768) and the West Midlands (28,828) were second and third respectively.
The biggest spike in convictions was in Yorkshire and Humberside, where the number of drivers convicted for not supplying the correct identification soared by nearly four times from 2,343 in 2011 to 8,972 in 2015.
According to the study, many more men than women failed to supply the right ID information in response to a police request. In the period 2011-2015, 185,425 male drivers have been convicted compared to 50,066 female drivers.
A recent study estimated that 13 per cent of all cars in east London were uninsured, posing a real risk to legal drivers.
It might explain why Department for Transport data suggests that around ten per cent of road traffic accidents where an injury has been sustained involve a hit and run driver.
Steve Barrett, from Churchill said: "Thousands of motorists are being convicted for failing to supply the necessary forms of driving ID, despite the fact it's a compulsory request by the police when they stop drivers on the road.
"This is important because it allows the police to verify that the driver is qualified and legally allowed to drive their vehicle and anyone driving without a valid licence is a potential threat to other road users.
"It is important that drivers ensure they have the relevant documentation to hand, or take the necessary steps to replace any misplaced paperwork as quickly as they can.
"Drivers are granted a short seven day window in order to verify their identity. After this they risk breaking the law and facing a court summons."