The RAC Foundation is urging a police crackdown on uninsured drivers after latest survey findings suggested that about 5% of all motorists now drive without cover.
Speaking at an Association of British Insurers' conference, foundation executive director Edmund King said: 'A reduction in traffic police has been linked to the increase in speed camera enforcement but unfortunately, the camera does not deter uninsured motorists.
'These drivers cause more accidents and are more likely to be involved in more serious crimes than those who are insured. A higher-profile police presence on our roads might help deter some of the opportunists who take a calculated risk that they are unlikely to be stopped.'
King said the survey showed that more than one-third of male drivers aged 18 to 20 had driven without insurance or a licence.
He added: 'The Motor Insurance Bureau paid out £500 million to the victims of uninsured motorists last year and this money comes out of the premiums of honest motorists. Uninsured drivers are up to nine times more likely to be involved in accidents and they are also more likely to be involved in hit-and-run collisions.
'These drivers now account for 5% of motorists. Sentences need to act as a deterrent – many drivers estimate that if they get stopped they might be fined £200, which is often a fraction of their insurance premium. Better enforcement can help overcome this problem.'