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More than half a million cars have been seized across the UK in the past four years for being driven without insurance, sparking concern that the cost of living crisis could push this number further.

Since 2018, 542,370 cars have been taken off Britain’s roads, with the largest number recorded (62,900) by the Metropolitan Police Service (which covers nearly all of central London), a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Other forces to record high rates include West Midlands Police, with 44,056, and West Yorkshire, with 33,829. Outside of England, 33,209 drivers in Scotland had their cars seized, 22,700 in Wales and 9360 in Northern Ireland.

This has sparked worry from The AA, which estimates that the number of uninsured drivers currently on UK roads – approximately a million – could be driven up by the increasing price of bills amid the cost of living crisis.

“We know that when times are hard, some people try to cut their costs, and one area people are tempted to chance it is cutting out their motor insurance,” said the AA’s insurance director, Gus Park. “However, these figures show that forces across the country are on the lookout and will take uninsured cars away.”

This was a point backed by RAC spokesman Simon Williams, who said that more uninsured drivers being on the road is driving up the cost of insurance for other motorists.

He added: “Sadly, it might very well be these same increasing costs that have led some drivers to run the gauntlet and risk driving without insurance in the first place.

“At a time when the cost of motoring has risen considerably due to record fuel prices, the last thing anyone needs is to pay more to drive their car legally.” 

The data, released by the AA today, has shown that the biggest period for uninsured drivers being caught was during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, when 129,652 cars were seized across the UK.

So far this year, 64,682 cars have been seized. 

Of all 46 forces to be sent the FOI request, Kent Police didn’t respond to the request, while Cheshire Police advised that its systems couldn’t easily determine how many cars had been seized for driving without insurance.

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