MOTORISTS driving through the Dungannon District will have to be that little bit more careful in future.
Latest figures from the Department of Justice reveal that there has been a dramatic surge in the number of motorists caught driving without insurance in the South Tyrone area.
Data released last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly shows that the number of no insurance convictions in South Tyrone and Fermanagh rocketed by 41 percent from 599 in 2008 to 823 in 2009, the latest years for which the information is available.
The high number of motorists flouting the law has been linked to the rising cost of car insurance.
Motoring experts claim that offenders simply aren’t worried about being caught because the punishments are often trivial in their eyes.
The Association of British Insurers has called for a range of measures to tackle the problem, including better enforcement and tougher penalties for those caught, including confiscating vehicles, community service orders and back payments of insurance.
At present drivers receive an average fine of £150 and three penalty points if they are caught.
DUP MLA Maurice Morrow, who obtained the figures, branded them as ‘startling and unacceptable’.
“In an era when there is so much traffic on our local roads, I am deeply concerned about this steep increase in uninsured drivers. There should be a new driver initiative to ensure greater compliance with the law, and greater punishments to secure the confidence of the insured.
“Foreign drivers should also ensure that they are adequately insured on our roads.”